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II if III I 




3[n slccount of Salem Fillagc, 








liPHf^ rf) CuJ 

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by 


In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 







PART T 11 I R 1). 


WE left Mr. Parris in the early part of November, 
1601, at the crisis of his controversy with the 
inhabitants of Salem Village, under circumstances 
which seemed to indicate that its termination was 
near at hand. The apposition to him had assumed a 
form which made it quite probable that it would succeed 
in dislodging him from his position. But the end was 
not yet. Events were ripening that were to give him a 
new and fearful strength, and open a scene in which he 
was to act a part destined to attract the notice of the 
world, and become a permanent portion of human his- 
tory. The doctrines of demonology had produced their 
full effect upon the minds of men, and every thing was 
read/ for a final display of their power. The story of 
the Goodwin children, as told by Cotton Mather, was 
known and read in all the dwellings of tlo land, and 
filled the imaginations of a credulous age. Deputy- 
governor Danforth had begun the work of arrests ; and 

VOL. II. 1 


pcr.soiis charged with witchcraft, hcloiiging to noigh- 
horiijg towiiH, wore already in prison. 

Mr. Parris aj)pear8 to have liad in his family several 
slaves, prohaldy hrouglit by him from the West Indies. 
One of them, whom he calls, in his clmrch-record lumk, 
" my negro lad," had died, a year or two before, at the 
age of nineteen. Two of them were man and wife. 
Tiie former was always known by the name of " John 
Indian ; " the latter was called " Tituba." These two 
persons may have originated the " Salem witchcraft." 
They are spoken of as having come from New Spain, as 
it was then called, — that is, the Spanish West Indies, 
and the adjacent mainlands of Central and South Amer- 
ica, — and, in all probability, contributed, from the 
wild and strange superstitions prevalent among their 
native tribes, materials which, added to the commonly 
received notions on such subjects, heightened the in- 
fatuation of the times, and inflamed still more the 
imaginations of the credulous. Persons conversant 
with the Indians of Mexico, and on both sides of the 
Isthmus, discern many similarities in their systems of 
demonology with ideas and practices developed here. 

Mr. Parris's former residence in the neighborhood 
of the Spanish Main, and the ])rominent part taken by 
his Indian slaves in originating th3 proceedings at the 
village, may account for some of the features of the 

During the winter of 1691 and 1692, a circle of 
young girls had been formed, who were in the habit 
of meeting at Mr. Parris's house for the purpose of 




3le of 
)se of 

practising palmistry, and other arts of fortuiie-telliiig, 
and of becoming exports in tlie womhMs of necromancy, 
magic, and spiritualism. It consisted, besides the 
Indian servants, mainly of the following j)ersons : — 

Elizal)etli, dangliter of Mr. Parris, was nine years of 
ago. She seems to have performed a leading part in 
the first stages of the alfair, and must have been a child 
of remarkable precocity. It is a noticeable fact, that 
her father early removed her from the scene. She 
was sent to th.e town, where she remained in the family 
of Stephen Sewall, until the proceedings at the village 
were brought to a close. Abigail Williams, a niece of 
Mr. Parris, and a member of his household, was 
eleven years of age. She acted conspicuously in 
the witchcraft prosecutions from begiiniing to end. 
Ann Putnam, daughter of Sergeant Thomas Putnam, 
the parish clerk or recorder, was twelve years of 
age. The character and social position of her parents 
gave her a prominence which an extraordinary develo|)- 
ment of the imaginative faculty, and of mental powers 
generally, enabled her to hold throughout. This young 
girl is perhaps entitled to be regarded as, in many 
respects, the leading agent in all the mischief that fol- 
lowed. Mary Walcot was seventeen years of age. Her 
father was Jonathan Walcot (vol. i. p. 22o). His first 
wife, Mary Sibley, to whom he was married in 1664, 
had died in 1683. She was the mother of Mary. It is 
a singular fact, and indicates the estimation in which 
Captain Walcot was held, that, although not a church- 
member, he filled the office of deacon of the parish 


for several years before the formation of the church. 
Mercy licwis was also seventeen ycuirs of aj^'!. When 
quite youn^, she was, for a time, in tiie family of tlie 
Rev. Oeorgc IJurrougiis: and, in ir>02, was living as a 
servant iu the family of Thomas INitnam ; although, 
occasionally, she seems to have lived, in the same ca- 
pacity, with that of .John Putnam, Jr., the constal)le of 
the village. He was a son of Nathaniel, and resided 
in the neighhoriiood of Thomas and Deacon Edward 
Putnam. Mercy Lewis performed a leading part in 
the proceedings, had great energy of purj)osc and 
capacity of management, and became responsible for 
much of the crime and horror connected with them. 
Elizabeth Hubbard, seventeen years of age, who also 
occu})ies a bad eminence in the scene, was a niece 
of Mrs. Dr. Griggs, and lived in her family. Eliza- 
beth Booth and Susannah Sheldon, each eighteen 
years of age, belonged to families in the neighborhood. 
Mary Warren, twenty years of age, was a servant in the 
family of John Procter ; and Sarah Churchill, of the 
same age, was a servant in that of George Jacobs, Sr. 
These two last were actuated, it is too apparent, l)y 
malicious feelings towards the families iu which they 
resided, and contributed largely to the horrible tragedy. 
The facts to be exhibited will enable every one who 
carefully considers them, to form an estimate, for him- 
self, of the respective character and conduct of these 
young per&ons. It is almost beyond belief that they 
were wholly actuated by deliberate and cold-blooded 
malignity. Their crime would, in that view, have been 


of the 
ifT as a 
mc ca- 
al)lo of 
)art in 
sc and 
iblo for 
I them, 
ho also 
a niece 
in the 
of the 
js, Sr. 
ent, by 
1 they 
lie who 
or him- 
■ these 
it they 
e been 

withont a paralhd in nionstroHity of wickoihioss, and 
beyond wluit can be iinagine<l of the guiltiest, and most 
depraved natures. For myself, I am unable to det(;r- 
mine how much may be attributed to credulity, 
hallucination, and the delirium of excitement, or to 
delilterate malice and falsehood. There is too nmeh 
evidence of guile ami conspiracy to attribute all their 
actions and declarations to delusion ; and their con- 
duct throughout was stamped with a bold assurance 
and audacious bearing. With one or two slight and 
momentary exceptions, there was a total al)sence of 
compunction or commiseration, and a reckless disre- 
gard of the agonies and destruction they were scatter- 
ing around them. They present a subject that justly 
claims, and will for ever tasi;, the examination of those 
who are most competent to fathom the mysteries of 
the human soul, sound its depths, and measure the 
extent to which it is liable to become wicked and devil- 
ish. It will be seen that other persons wore drawn 
to act with these " afTlicted children," as they were 
called, some from contagious delusion, and some, as 
was quite well proved, from a false, mischievous, and 
malignant spirit. 

Besides the above-mentioned persons, there were 
three married women, rather under middle life, who 
acted with the afflicted children, — Mrs. Aim Putnam, 
the mother of the child of that name ; Mrs. Pope ; and 
a woman, named Bibber, who appears to have lived at 
Wenliam. Another married woman, — spoken of as 
" ancient," — named Goodell, had also been in the 



habit of attending their meetings ; but she is not 
named in any of tha documents on file, and was 
probably withdrawn, at an early period, from partici- 
pating in the tran inaction. 

In the course of the winter, they became quite 
skilful and expert in the arts they were learning, and 
gradually began to display their attainments to the 
admiration and ama/ement of beholders. At first, 
they made no chargos against any person, but con- 
fined themselves to strange actions, exclamations, and 
contortions. They would creep into holes, and under 
benches and chairs, put themselves into odd and 
unnatural postures, make wild and antic gestures, 
and utter incoherent and unintelligible sounds. They 
would be seized with spasms, drop insensible to the 
floor, or writhe in agony, suffering dreadful tortures, 
and uttering loud and piercing outcries. The atten- 
tion of the families in which they held their meetings 
was called to their extraordinary condition and pro- 
ceedings ; and the whole neighborhood and surround- 
ing country soon were filled with the story of the 
strange and unaccountable sufferings of the " afYlicted 
girls." No explanation could be given, and their 
condition became worse and worse. The physician of 
the village. Dr. Griggs, was called in, a consultation 
liad, and tlie opinion finally and gravely given, that 
the afflicted children were bewitched. It was quite 
common in those days for the faculty to dispose of 
difficult cases by tins resort. When their remedies 
were baffled, and their skill at fault, the patient was 


said to bo " under i evil hand." In all cases, the 
sage conclusion was received by nurses, and elderly 
women called in on such occasions, if the symptoms 
were out of the common course, or did not yield to tlic 
prescriptions these persons wjre in the habit of apply- 
ing. Very soon, the whole community became excited 
and alarmed ..o the highest degree. All other topics 
were forgotten. The only thing spoken or thought of 
was the terrible condition of the afflicted children in 
Mr. Parris's house, or wherever, from time to time, the 
girls assembled. Tiiey were the objects of universal 
compassion and wonder. The people flocked from all 
quarters to witness their sufferings, and gaze with 
awe upon their convulsions. Becoming objects of 
such notice, they were stimulated to vary and expand 
the manifestations of the extraordinarv influence that 
was upon them. They extended their Oj)erations be- 
yond the houses of Mr. Parris, and the families to which 
they belonged, to public places ; and their tits, exclama- 
tions, and outcries disturbed the exercises of prayer 
meetings, and the ordinary services of the congrega- 
tion. On one occasion, on the Lord's Day, March 20th, 
when the singing of the psalm previous to the sermon 
was concluded, before tiie person preaching — Mr. 
Lawson — could come forward, Abigail Williams cried 
out, " Now stand uj), and name your text." When he 
had read it, in a loud and insolent voice she ex- 
claimed, " It's a long text." In the midst of the dis- 
course, Mrs. Pope broke in, "'■ Now, tliere is enough of 
that." In the afternoon of the same day, while re- 



ferring to the doctrine he liad been expounding in the 
preceding service, Abigail Williams rudely ejaculated, 
" I know no doctrine you had. If you did name 
one, I have forgot it." An aged member of the 
church was present, against whom a warrant on the 
charge of witchcraft had been procured the day before. 
Being apprised of the proceeding, Abigail Williams 
spoke aloud, during the service, calling by name the 
person about to be apprehended, '"■ Look where she 
sits upon the beam, sucking her yellow-bird betwixt 
lier fingers." Ann Putnam, joining in, exclaimed, 
" There is a yellow-bird sitting on the minister's hat, 
as it hangs on the pin in the pulpit." Mr. Lawson 
remarks, with much simplicity, that these things, oc- 
curring " in the time of public worship, did something 
interrupt me in my first prayer, being so luiusual." 
But he braced himself up to the emergency, and went 
on with the service. There is no intimation that Mr. 
Parris rebuked his niece for her disorderly behavior. 
As at several other times, the people sitting near Ann 
Putnam had to lay hold of her to prevent her proceed- 
ing to greater extremities, and wholly breaking up the 
meeting. The girls were supposed to be under an 
irresistible and supernatural impulse ; and, instead of 
being severely punished, were looked upon with min- 
gled pity, terror, and awe, and made objects of the 
greatest attention. Of course, where members of 
the minister's family were countenanced in such pro- 
ceedings, during the exercises of public worsliip, on 
the Lord's Day, in the meeting-house, it was not 




lip, on 
Is not 

strange that people in general yielded to the excite- 
ment. But all did not. Several members of the 
family of Francis Nurse, Peter Cloyse and wife, and 
Joseph Putnam, expressed their disapprobation of such 
doings being allowed, and absented themselves from 
meeting. Perhaps others took the same course ; but 
whoever did were marked, as the sequel will show. 

In the mean while the excitement was worked up 
to the highest pitcli. The families to which several 
of the " afilicted children " belonged were led to 
apply themselves to fasting and prayer, on which occa- 
sions the neighbors, under the guidance of the minis- 
ter, would assemble, and unite in invocations to the 
Divine Being to interpose and deliver them from the 
snares and dominion of Satan. The " afflicted chil- 
dren " who might be present would not, as a general 
thing, interrupt the prayers while in progress, but 
would break out with their wild outcries and con- 
vulsive spasms in the intervals of the service. In 
due time, Mr. Parris sent for the neighboring minis- 
ters to asseml)le at his house, and unite with him in 
devoting a day to solemn religious services and earnest 
su[)plications to the throne of Mercy for rescue from 
the power of the great enemy of souls. The minis- 
ters spent the day in Mr. Parrls's house, and the chil- 
dren performed their feats before their eyes. The 
reverend gentlemen were astounded at what they 
saw, fully corroborated the opinion of Dr. Griggs, and 
formally declared their belief that the Evil One had 
commenced his operations with a bolder front and 






on a liroader scale than ever ])efore in this or any oth-jr 

This judgment of the ministers was quickly made 
known everywhere ; and, if doubt remained in any 
mind, it was suppressed by the irresistible power of an 
overwhelming public conviction. Individuals wore 
lost in the universal fanaticism. Society was dissolved 
into a wild and excited crowd. Men and women left 
their fields, their houses, their labors and employ- 
ments, to witness the awful unveiling of the demoniac 
power, and to behold the workings of Satan himself 
upon the victims of his wrath. 

It must be borne in mind, that it was then an estab- 
lished doctrine in theology, philosophy, and law, that the 
Devil could not operate upon mortals, or mortal affairs, 
except through the intermediate instrumentality of 
liuman beings in confederacy with him, that is, witches 
or wizards. The question, of course, in all minds 
and on all tongues, was, " Who are the agents of the 
Devil in afflicting these girls ? There must be some 
among us thus acting, and who are they ? " For some 
time the girls held back from mentioning names ; or, 
if they did, it was prevented from being divulged to 
the public. In the mean time, the excitement spread 
and deepened. At length the people had become so 
thoroughly prepared for the work, that it was con- 
cluded to begin operations in earnest. The continued 
pressure upon the " afTlicted children," the earnest 
and importunate inquiry, on all sides, " Who is it that 
bewitches you ? " opened their lips in response, and 



they began to select and bring forward their victims. 
One after another, they cried ont " Good," " Osburn," 
" Titnba." On the 29th of February, 1092, warrants 
were duly issued against those persons. It is observ- 
able, that the complainants who procured the warrants 
in these cases were Joseph Hutchinson, Edward Put- 
nam, Thomas Putnam, and Thomas Preston. This 
fact shows how nearly unanimous, at this time, was the 
conviction that the sufferings of the girls were the 
result of witchcraft. Joseph Hutchinson was a firm- 
ininded man, of strong common sense, and from his 
general character and ways of thinking and acting, 
one of the last persons liable to be carried away by a 
popular enthusiasm, and was found among the earliest 
rescued from it. Thomas Preston was a son-in-law of 
Francis Nurse. 

As all was ripe for the development of the plot, 
extraordinary means were taken to give publicity, 
notoriety, and effect to the first examinations. On the 
1st of March the two leading magistrates of the 
neighborhood, men of great note and influence, whose 
fathers had been among the chief founders of the 
settlement, and who were Assistants, — that is, mem- 
bers of the highest legislative and judicial body in the 
colony, combining with the functions of a senate those 
of a court of last resort with most comprehensive 
jurisdiction, — John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin, 
entered the village, in imposing array, escorted by 
the marshal, constables, and their aids, with all the 
trappings of their offices ; reined up at Nathaniel In- 



gersoll's corner, and dismoutitcd at his door. The 
whole population of the ncighborliood, apprised of the 
occasion, was gathered on the lawn, or came flocking 
along the roads. Tlie crowd was so great that it was 
necessary to adjourn to the meeting-house, which was 
filled at once by a mu-.titude excited to the higliest pitch 
of indignation and abhorrence towards the prisoners, 
and of curiosity to witness the novel and imposing 
spectacle and proceedings. The magistrates took seats 
in front of the pulpit, facing the assembly ; a long 
table or raised platform being placed before them ; 
and it was announced, that they were ready to enter 
upon the examination. On bringing in and delivering 
over the accused parties, the ofti -ers who had executed 
the warrants stated that they ' had made diligent 
search for images and such like, but could find none." 
After prayer, Constable George Locker produced the 
body of Sarah Good ; and Constable Joseph Herrick, 
the bodies of Sarah Osburn, and Tituba Mr. Parris's 
Indian woman. The evidence seems to indicate, that, 
on these occasions, the prisoners were placed on the 
platform, to keep them from the contact of the general 
crowd, and that all might see them. 

Sarah Good was first examined, the other two being 
removed from the house for the time. In complaining 
of her, and bringing her forward first, the prosecu- 
tors showed that they were well advised. There was 
a general readiness to receive the charge against her, 
as she was evidently the object of much prejudice in 
the neighborhood. Her husband, who was a weak, 



ignorant, and dependent person, had become alienated 
from iier. The ftiniily were very poor ; and she and 
her cliildrcn had sometimes been witliout a house to 
shelter tliem, and left to wander from door to door for 
relief. Whether justly or not, she appears to have 
been subject to general obloquy. Probably there was 
no one in the country around, against whom popular 
suspicion could have been more readily directed, or in 
whose favor and defence less interest could be awak- 
ened. She was a forlorn, friendless, and forsaken 
creature, broken down by wretchedness of condition 
and ill-repute. The following are the minutes of her 
examination, as found among the files : — 

" The Examination of Sarah Good before the Woi-shipful 
Esqrs. John Hathorne and Jonathan Corivin. 

" Surah Good, what evil spirit have you familiarity 
with ? — None. 

" Have you made no contracts with the Devil ? — No. 

" Why do you hurt these children ? — I do not hurt them. 
J scorn it. 

" Who do you employ then to do it ? — I employ nobody. 

" What creature do you employ then ? — No creature : but 
I am falsely accused. 

" Why did you go away muttering from Mr. Parris his 
house ? — I did not mutter, but I thanked him for what he 
gave my child. 

" Have you made no cont-act with the Devil ? — No. 

" Hathorne desired the children all of them to look upon 
her, and see if this were the person that hurt them ; and so they 
all did look upon her, and said this was one of the persons 
that did torment them. Presently they were all tormented. 

I t 






" Sarah Good, do you not pcc uow what you have 
done? Wn> do you uot tell us the truth? Why do you 
thus torment these poor cl)ihh-eu ? — I do not torment 

"Who do you employ then? — I employ nobody. I 
scorn it. 

" How came they thus tormented? — W^hat do I know ? 
You bring others here, and now you charge me with it. 

" Why, who was it? — 1 do not know but it was soma 
you brought into the meeting-house with you. 

"We brought you into the meeting-house. — But you 
brought in two more. 

"Who was it, then, that tormented the children? — It 
was Osburu. 

" What is it you say when you go muttering away from 
persons' houses ? — If I must tell, I will tell. 

" Do tell us then. — If I must tell, I will tell : it '"s the 
Commandments. I may say my Commandments, I hope. 

"What Commandment is it? — If I must tell you, I will 
tell : it is a psalm. 

" What psalm ? 

" (After a long time she muttered over so le part of a 

"Who do you serve? — I serve God. 

" What God do you serve ? — The God that made heaven 
and earth (though she was not willing to mention the word 
' God'). Her answers were in a very wicked, spiteful man- 
ner, reflecting and retorting against the authority with base 
and abusive words ; and many lies she was taken in. It was 
here said that her husband had said that he was afraid that 
she either was a witch or would be one very quickly. The 
worshipful Mr. Hathorne, asked him iiis reason why he 



snid so of her, wliethcr he had ever seen any thing by lier. 
lie answered ' No, not in this nature ; but it was her bad 
carriage to him : and indeed,* said he, ' 1 may say witli tears, 
tiiat she is an enemy to all good.* " 

The foiegoing is in tlio handwriting of Ezckiol Chec- 
ver. The folloviing is in that of John Hathorne : — 

"Salem ViHage, March the 1st, 1G92. — Sarali Good, 
upon examination, denied the matter of fact (viz.) that she 
ever used any witchcraft, or liurt the abovesaid children, or 
any of tiiem. 

"The abovenamed children, being all present, positively 
accused lier of hurtin*; of them sundrv times within this 
two months, and also that morning. Sarah Good denied 
that she had been at their houses in said time or near them, 
or had done them any hurt. All the abovesaid children 
then present accused her face to face ; upon which they 
were all dreadfully tortured and tormented for a short space 
of time ; and, the affliction and tortures being over, they 
charged said Sarah Good again that she had then so tor- 
tured them, and came to them and did it, although she was 
personally then kept at a considerable distance from them. 

" Sarah Good being asked if that she did not then hurt 
them, who did it ; and the children being again tortured, 
she looked upon them, and said that it was one of them 
we brought into the house with us. We asked her who 
it was: she then answered, and said it was Sarah Osburu, 
and Sarah Osburn was then imder custody, and not in 
the house ; and the children, being quickly after recovered 
out of their fit, said that it was Sarah Good and also 
Sarah Osbura that then did hurt and torment or .'ifilict 
them, although both of them at the same time at a distance 





or remote from them pnraonnllv. There were nlso sundry 
oilier (jucstions put to her, .:s\vers ^'iveu thereunto by 

her uceordiiif^ an is also privet) iu." 

It will l)C noticed that the examinatioii was coii- 
diietod ill the form of questions put by the magistrate, 
Ilatiiornc, based Ujion a foregone conclusion of the 
prisoner's guilt, and expressive of a conviction, all 
along on his part, that the evidence of " the afllicted " 
against lier amounted to, and was, absolute demonstra- 
tion. It will also be noticed, that, severe as was the 
opinion of her luisl>and in reference to her general 
conduct, he could not be made to say that he had ever 
noticed any thing in her of the nature of witchcraft. 
The torments the girls affected to experience in look- 
ing at her must have produced an overwhelming effect 
on the crowd, as they did on the magistrate, and even 
on the poor, amazed creature herself. She did not 
seem to doubt the reality of their sufferings. In this, 
and in all cases, it must be remembered that the account 
of the examination comes to us from those who were 
under the wildest excitement against the prisoners ; 
that no counsel was allowed them ; that, if any thing 
was suffered to be said in their defence by others, it 
has failed to reach iis ; that the accused persons were 
wholly unaccustomed to such scenes and exposures, 
unsuspicious of the perils of a cross-examination, or 
of an inquisition conducted with a design to entrap 
and ensnare ; and that what they did say was liable 
to be misunderstood, as well as misrepresented. We 
cannot hear their story. All we know is from parties 



prejudiced, to tlio hi^host dojri'cc, njj^ainst tlicni. Parali 
Good was an unfortuuato and niisifrahle woman in her 
circum.stancos and condition : l)nt, from all that ap- 
pears on the record, making duo allowance for tiie cre- 
dulity, extravagance, prejudice, folly, or malignity of 
the witnesses ; giving full cifTect to every thing that can 
claim the character of substantial force alleged against 
her, it is undeniable, that there was not, beyond the 
afTlicted girls, a particle of evidence to sustain the 
charge on which she was arraigned ; and that, in 
the worst aspect of her case, she was an object for 
compassion, rather than punishment. Altogether, the 
proceedings against her, which terminated with her exe- 
cution, were cruel and shameful to the highest degree. 

On the conclusion of her examination, she was re- 
moved from the meeting-house, and Sarah Osburn 
brought in. Her selection, as one of the persons to 
be first cried out upon, was judicious. The public 
mind was prepared to believe the charge against her. 
Her original name was Sarah Warren. She was mar- 
ried, April 5, 1062, to Robert Prince, who belonged to 
a leading family, and owned a valuable farm. He 
died early, leaving her with two young children, James 
and Joseph. 

In the early colonial period, it was the custom for 
persons who desired to come from the old country to 
America, but had not the means to defray the ex- 
penses of the passage, to let or sell themselves, for a 
greater or less length of time, to individuals residing 
here who needed their service. The practice continued 

VOL. II. 2 



down to the prcstMit century. Kniij>nints who thus 
Hold thouiHclveH I'or a period of yaniH were called 
" re(l(!ni|)tioM(n"H." Ah^xandiM" Osliurn came over from 
Ireland in this character. The widow of ItoluMt Prince 
houj^ht out the residue of his time from the jK-rson to 
whom he was thus under contract, for fifteen pounds, 
and (unployed him to carry on her farm. After a 
while, she married him. This, it is prohahle, gave rise 
to some criticism ; and, as her Itoys grew up, hecame 
more and more disagreeuhlc to them. The marriage, 
as was natural, led to unhappy results. In 1720, after 
Oshuru had heen dead some years, a curious case was 
brought into court, in which the sons of Robert Prince 
testified that Oshuru treated their mother and them 
with "reat cruelty and barbarity. They had become 
of age before their mother's death, and had signed 
their names to a deed conveying away land belonging 
to their patrimony. The object of the suit was to in- 
validate the conveyance by proving that they were com- 
pelled by Osburn to sign the deed, he using threats 
and violence upon them at the time. There was an 
extraordinary conflict of testimony in the trial ; some 
witnesses strongly corroborating tlie accusations of the 
Princes, and some equally strong in vindication of 
the character of Osburn. It was shown, that, in the 
opinion of several of his neighbors, lie was an indus- 
tiious, respectable, and worthy person. It is difficult 
to determine the precise merits of the case. After the 
death of his wife, Osburn married Ruth, a daughter of 
William Cantlebury, and widow of William Sibley. 



Slic wuH a Nvouuui ul' uii(|ii('Mli<)nod oxcellciicu ol' cliar- 
U(;tor, aiul ul' a large laiitlcd citato. Osltuni was li«>r 
third iiUHl)aiid, tlio first having heoii Thoiuas Siuall. 
After her inarriiigo to Oshurii, he and slic Joined tlio 
chnrcli, and wore repntal)le persons in all respects, lie 
was well regnnled as a citizen, and often on the parish 
committee. NcMther he nor the widow Sihloy aj)j)ear to 
have been imitlicated in the witchcraft proceedings in 
any other luirticiilar than that he testifi(Mi that his th(;n 
wife Sarah had not been for some time at meeting. 
There is no indication that this was volunteer testi- 
mony, lie and his wife Ruth were among the lirmest 
opponents of Mr. Parris. There is no mention of his 
having had children by either of his American wives. 
His son John, who prol)ably came with him to the 
country, was an iidmbitant of the Village; and his 
name is on the rate-list, for the last time, in 1718, his 
father having died some years before. The Osborne 
family, in this part of the country, docs not appear to 
have sprung from this source. 

Without attempting to decide where, or in what pro- 
portions, the blame is to be laid, the fact is evident, that 
the marriage of the widow Sarah Prince to Alexander 
Osburn was an unhappy one. Her mind became de- 
pressed, if not distracted. For some time, she had 
been bedridden. Of course, as she had occupied a 
respectable social position, and was a woman of pro{)- 
erty, her case naturally gave rise to scandal. Rumor 
was busy and gossip rife in reference to her ; and it 
was quite natural that she should have been suggested 



for the accusing girls to pitch upon. The following is 
an account of her examination ^ / the magistrates, in 
the handwriting of John Hathorne : — 

" Sanih Osburne, upou examination, denied the matter of 
fact, viz., that she ever understood or used any witchcraft, or 
hurt any of the abovesaid children. 

" The children above named, being all personally present, 
accused her face to face; which, being done, they were all 
hurt, afflicted, and tortured very much ; which, being over, and 
they out of their fits, they said that said Sarah Osburne did 
then come to them, and hurt them, Sarah Osburne being then 
kept at a distance personally from them. Sarah Osburne 
was asked why she then hurt them. She denied it. It being 
asked of her how she could so pinch and hurt them, and yet 
she be at that distance personally from them, she answered 
she did not then hurt them, nor ever did. She was asked who, 
then, did it, or who she employed to do it. She answered 
she did not know that the Devil goes about iu her likeness to 
do any hurt. Sarah Osburne, being told that Sarah Good, 
one of her companions, had, upon examination, accused 
her, she, notwithstanding, denied the same, according lo her 
examination, which is more at large given in, as therein will 

The following is in the handwriting of Ezekiel 
Cheever: — 

" Sarah Oshurn her Examination. 

" What evil spirit have you familiarity with ? — None. 
" Have you made no contract with the Devil? — No: I 
never saw the Devil in my life. 

•' Wl y do you hurt these children ? — I do not hurt them. 



"Who do you employ, then, to hurt them? — I employ 

" What familiarity have you with Sarah Good? — None : 
I have not seen her these two years. 

"Where did you see her then? — One day, agoing to 

" What communications had you with her ? — I had none, 
only ' How do you do ? ' or so. I do not know her by name. 

" What did you call her, then ? 

" (Osburn made a stand at that ; at last, said she called 
her Sarah.) 

" Sarah Good saith that it was you that hurt the children. 
— I do not know that the Devil goes about in my likeness to 
do any hurt. 

" Mr. Hathorne desired all the children to stand up, and 
look upon her, and see if they did know her, which they 
all did ; and every one of them said that this was one of the 
women that did afflict them, and that they had constantly 
seen her in the very habit that she was now in. Three evi- 
dences declared that she said this morning, that she was 
more like to be bewitched than that she was a witch. Mr. 
Hathorne asked her what made her say so. She answered 
that she was frighted one time in her sleep, and either saw, 
or dreamed that she saw, a thing like an Indian all black, 
which did pinch her in her neck, and pulled her by the back 
part of her head to the door of the house. 

" Did you never see any thing else ? — No. 

" (It was said by some in the meeting-house, that she had 
said that she would never believe that lying spirit any more.) 

"What lying spirit is this? Hath the Devil ever le- 
ceived you, and been false to you ? — I do not know the 
Devil. I never did see him. 



" What lying spirit was it, then ? — It was a voice that I 
tlionj^ht I heard. 

'• Wliat did it propound to you? — That I shoidd go no 
more to meeting; but I said I would, and did go the next 

" Were you never tempted further? — No. 

" Why did you yield thus far to the Devil as never to go to 
meeting since ? — Alas ! I have been sick, and not able to go. 

" Her husband and others said that she had not been at 
meeting three years and two months." 

The foregoing illustrcates the unfairness practised 
by the examining magistrate. He took for granted, 
as we shall find to have been the case in all instances, 
tiie guilt of the prisoner, and endeavored, to entangle 
her by leading questions, thus involving her in con- 
tradiction. By the force of his own assumptions, he 
had compelled Sarah Good to admit the reality of the 
sufferings of the girls, and that they must be caused 
by some one. The amount of what she had said was, 
that, if caused by one or the other of them, " then it 
must be Osburn," for she was sure of her own inno- 
cence. This expression, to which she was driven in 
self-exculpation, was perverted by the reporter, Ezekiel 
Checvcr, and by the magistrate, into an indirect con- 
fession and a direct accusation of Osburn. In the 
absence of Good, the magistrate told Osburn that 
Good had confessed and accused her. This was a 
misrepresentation of one, and a false and fraudulent 
trick upon the other. Considering the feeble condition 
of Sarah Osburn generally, the snares by which she 



was beset, the distressing and bewildering circum- 
stances in which she was phiced, and the infirm state 
of her reason, as evidenced in her statement of what 
she saw, or dreamed that she saw and heard, — not 
having a clear idea which, — her answers, as reported 
by the prosecutors, show that her broken and disor- 
dered mind was essentially truthful and innocent. 

Sarah Osburn was removed from the meeting-house, 
and Tituba brought in and examined, as follows : — 

" Tituba, what evil spirit have you familiarity with ? — 

" Why do you hurt these children ? — I do uot hurt 

" Who is it tlieu ? — Tiie Devil, for aught I know. 

" Did you never see the Devil? — The Devil came to me, 
and bid me serve him. 

"Who have you seen? — Four women sometimes hurt 
the children. 

"Who were they? — Goody Osburn and Sarah Good, 
and I do not know who the others were. Sarah Good and 
Osburn would have me hurt the children, but I would 

" (She further saith there was a tall man of Boston that 
she did see.) 

" W^hen did you see them? — Last night, at Boston. 

"What did they say to you? — They said, 'Hurt the 

" And did you hurt them ? — No : tliere is four women 
and one man, they hurt the children, and then they lay all 
upon me ; and they tell me, if I will not hurt the children, 
they will hurt me. 



" But did you uot hurt them ? — Yes ; but I will hurt them 
no more. 

" Are you not sorry that you did hurt them ? — Yes. 

" And why, then, do you hurt them ? — They say, ' Hurt 
children, or we will do worse to you,* 

" What have you seen ? — A man come to me, and say, 
' Serve me.' 

"What service? — Hurt the children: and last night 
there was an appearance that said, ' Kill the children ; ' and, 
if I would not go on hurting the children, they would do 
worse to me. 

"What is this appearance you see -Sometimes it is 
like a hog, and sometimes like a great dog. 

" (This appearance she saith she did see four times.) 

" What did it say to you? — The black dog said, ' Serve 
me ; ' but I said, ' I am afraid.' He said, if I did not, he 
would do worse to me. 

" What did you say to it? — I will serve you no longer. 
Then he said he would hurt me ; and then he looks like a 
man, and threatens to hurt me. (She said that this man had 
a yellow-bird that kept with him,) And he told me he had 
more pretty things that he would give me, if I would serve 

" AVhat were these pretty things ? — He did not show me 

" What else have you seen ? — Two cats ; a red cj.l, and 
a black cat. 

" What did they say to you ? — They said, ' Servo 

" When did you see them ? — Last night ; and they said, 
' Serve me ; ' but I said I would not. 

" What service? — She said, hurt the children. 



"Did you not pinch Elizabeth Hubbard tliis morning? 
— Tiie man brought her to me, and made pinch her. 

" Wliy did you go to Thomas Putnam's last night, and 
hurt his child? — They pull and haul me, and make go. 

" And what would they have you do ? — Kill her with a 

" (Lieutenant Fuller and others said at this time, when 
the child saw these persons, and was tormented by them, 
that she did complain of a knife, — that they would have 
her cut her head off with a knife.) 

" How did you go ? — We ride upon sticks, and are there 

" Do you go through the trees or over them ? — We see 
nothing, but are there presently. 

" Why did you not tell your master ? — I was afraid : 
they said they would cut off my head if I told. 

" Would you not have hurt others, if you could? — They 
said they would hurt others, but they could not. 

"What attendants hath Sarah Good? — A yellow-bird, 
and she would have given me one. 

" What meat did she give it ? — It did suck her between 
her fingers. 

"Did you not hurt Mr. Curreu's child? — Goody Good 
and Goody Osburn told that they did hurt Mr. Currcn's 
child, and would have had me hurt him too ; but I did not. 

" What hath Sarah Osburn ? — Yesterday she had a thing 
with a head like a woman, with two legs and wings. 

" (Abigail Williams, that lives with her uncle Mr. Parris, 
said that she did see the same creature, and it turned into 
the shape of Goodie Osburn.) 

"What else have you seen with Osburn? — Another 
thing, hairy : it goes upright like a man, it hath only two legs. 



" Did you uot see Sarah Good upon Elizabeth Hubbard, 
last Saturday? — 1 did see her set a wolf upou her to afflict 

" (The persons with this maid did say that she did com- 
plain of a wolf. She further said that she saw a cat with 
Good at another time.) 

" What clothes doth the man go in ? — He goes in black 
clothes; a tall man, with white hair, I think. 

"How doth the woman go? — In a white hood, and a 
blacls hood with a top-knot. 

" Do you see who it is that torments these children now ? 
— Yes : it is Goody Good ; she hurts them in her own shape. 

" Who is it that hurts them now? — I am blind now : I 

cannot see. 

" Written by Ezekiel Cheever. 

"Salem Village, March the Ist, 1692." 




■ I 

i; I 

Another report of Tituba's examination lias been 
preserved, and may be found in the second volume of 
the collection edited by Samuel G. Drake, entitled the 
" Witchcraft Delusion in New England." It is in the 
handwriting of Jonathan Corwin, very full and minute, 
and shows that the Indian woman was familiar with all 
the ridiculous and monstrous fancies then prevalent. 
The details of her statement cover nearly the whole 
ground of them. While indicating, in most respects, 
a mind at the lowest level of general intelligence, 
they give evidence of cunning and wariness in the 
highest degree. This document is also valuable, as 
it affords information about particulars, incidentally 
mentioned and thus rescued from oblivion, which 



serve to bring back the life of tlic past. Tituba de- 
scribes tlic dresses of some of the witches : " A bhick 
silk hood, with a white silk hood under it, with to|)- 
knots." One of them wore " a serge coat, with a white 
cap." The Devil appeared " in black clothes some- 
times, sometimes serge coat of other color." Slie 
speaks of the " lean-to chamber " in the parsonage, and 
describes an aerial night ride " up " to Thomas Put- 
nam's. " How did you go ? What did you ride 
upon ? " asked the wondering magistrate. " I ride 
upon a stick, or pole, and Good and Osburu behind 
me : we ride taking hold of one another ; don't know 
how we go, for I saw no trees nor path, but was pres- 
ently tliere when we were up." In both reports, Tituba 
describes, quite graphically, the likenesses in which the 
Devil appeared to his confederates ; but Corwin gives 
the details more fully than Cheever. What the latter 
reports of the appearances in which the Devil accom- 
panied Osburn,the former amplifies. "The thing with 
two legs and wings, and a face like a woman," " turns " 
into a full woman. The " hairy thing " becomes " a 
thing all over hairy, all the face hairy, and a long nose, 
and I don't know how to tell how the face looks ; is 
about two or three feet high, and goeth upright like a 
man ; and, last night, it stood before the fire in Mr. 
Parris's hall." 

It is quite evident that the part played by the Indian 
woman on this occasion was pre-arranged. She had, 
from tlie first, been concerned with the circle of 
girls in their necromantic operations ; and her state- 



Ill ' 

meiits show the materials out of wliicli their ridicu- 
lous and monstrous stories were constructed. She 
said that there were four who " hurt the chiklren." 
Upon being pressed by the magistrate to tell who they 
were, slie named Osburn and Good, but did " not know 
who the others were." Two otiiers were marked ; but 
it was not thought best to bring them out until these 
three examinations had first been made to toil upon 
the public mind. Tituba had been apprised of Eliza- 
beth Hubbard's story, that she had been " pinched " 
that morning ; and, as well as " Lieutenant Fuller 
and others," had heard of the delirious exclamation of 
Thomas Putnam's sick child during the night. " Abi- 
gail Williams, that lives with her uncle Parris," 
had communicated to the Indian slave the story of 
" the woman with two legs and wings." In fact, she 
had been fully admitted to their councils, and made 
acquainted with all the stories they were to tell. But, 
when it became necessary to avoid specifications 
touching parties whose names it had been decided not 
to divulge at that stage of the business, the wily old 
servant escapes further interrogation, " I am blind 
now : I cannot see." 

Proceedings connected with these examinations were 
continued several days. The result appears, in the 
handwriting of John Hathorne, as follows : — 

"Salem Village, March 1, 169^. — Tituba, an Indian 
woman, brought before us by Constable Jos. Herrick, of 
Salem, upon suspicion of witchcraft by her committed, ac- 
cording to the complaint of Jos. Hutchinson and Thomas 



Putnam, &c., of Salem Village, as appears per warrant 
granted, Salem, 29th February, 169^. Tituba, upon ex- 
amination, and after some denial, acknowledged the matter 
of fact, as, according to her examination given in, more 
fully will appear, and who also charged Sarah Good and 
Sarah Osburn with the same. 

"Salem Village, March the 1st, 169^. — Sarah Good, 
Sarah Osburn, and Tituba, an Indian woman, all of Salem 
Village, being this day brought before us, upon suspicion of 
witchcraft, &c., by ihem and every one of them committed ; 
Tituba, an Indian woman, acknowledging the matter of 
fact, and Sarah Osburn and Sarah Good denying the same 
before us ; but there appearing, in all their examinations, 
sufficient ground to secure them all. And, in order to fur- 
ther examination, they were all per mitthnus sent to the jails 
in the county of P^ssex. 

" Salem, March 2. — Sarah Osburn again examined, 
and also Tituba, as will appear in their examinations given 
in. Tituba again acknowledged the fact, and also accused 
the other two. 

" Salem, March 3. — Sarah Osburn, and Tituba, Indian, 
again examined. The examination now given in. Tituba 
again said the same. 

" Salem, March 5, — Sara'i s^ood and Tituba again ex- 
amined; and, in their examinaija, Tituba acknowledged 
the same she did formerly, and accused the other two above 


! 1 



"Salem, March tlio 7th, IGDV. — Sarah Good, Sarah 
Osburn, aud Tituba, au Indian woman, all sent to the jail 
in lioHton, accordiuf^ to their mUtiniuscsy then sent to liieir 
Majesties' jail-keeper," 

Jt will be noticed that the mag'lstrates did not ven- 
ture to put into this their (inul record, what they had 
unfairly tried to make Sarah Oshorn believe, that Sarah 
Good had been a witness against her. ^JMie jail at I))s- 
wich was at a distance of at least ten miles from the 
village meeting-house, by any road that could then have 
been travelled. The transferrence of the prisoners 
day after day must have been very fatiguing to a sick 
woman like Sarah Osburn. Sarah Good seems to 
have been able to bear it. Samuel Uraybrook, an assist- 
ant constable, having charge of her, says, that, on the 
way to Ipswich, she " leaped off her horse three times ; " 
that she " railed against the magistrates, and endeav- 
ored to kill herself." He further testified, that, at the 
very time she was performing these feats, Thomas Put- 
nam's daughter, " at her father's house, declared the 
same." As Braybrook was many miles from Thomas 
Putnam's house, at the moment when his wonderful 
daughter exercised this miraculous extent of vision, it 
would have been more satisfactory to have had some 
other testimony to the fact. I mention this to show of 
what stuff the evidence in these cases was made, and 
the credulity with which every thing was swallowed. 
The prisoners were put to examination each day. 

Osburn and Good steadily maintained their inno- 
cence. Tituba all along declared herself guilty, and 



accused tlic other two of having heeii with her in con- 
federacy with tlie Devil. Mr. Parris niude tiie follow- 
ing deposition, in relation to these exjuninations, to 
which he Hubse(iuently swore in Court, at the trial of 
Sarah Good : — 

" The DEi'osrnoN of Sam : Pauius, nj^ed ahout thirty 
nnd uiue years. — TcHtifieth and saitli, that Eli/,aht;lh l*ar- 
ris, Jr., and Abigail Williams, and Ann J'utnani, Jr., 
and Elizabeth Hubbard, were most grievon>ly and severul 
times torttn'ed durin;; the examination of Sarah Good, Sai'ali 
Osburu, and Titiiba, Indian, before tiie maj^istrates at Salem 
Village, 1 March, 1692. And the ssaid Titnba being tlie last 
of the above said that was examined, they, the abovt; said 
afflicted persons, were grievously distres.'^ed until the said 
Indian began to confess, and then they were inniKMlialely 
all quiet the rest of the said Indian woman's examination. 
Also Thomas Putuani, aged about forty years, and Kzekiel 
Cheever, aged about thirty and six years, testify to the whole 
of the above said; and all the three deponents aforesaid 
further testify, that, after the said Indian began to ('on<ess, 
she was herself very much afflicted, and in the face of 
authority at the same time, and openly charged the above- 
said Good and Osburn as the persons that afllicted her, the 
aforesaid Indian." 

By comparing these depositions with the other docu- 
ments I have presented, it will be seen how admirably 
the whole affair was arranged, so far as concerned the 
part played by Tituba. She commences her testimony 
by declaring her innocence. The afflicted children 
are instantly thrown into torments, which, however, 



subsidu as soon as she begins to confess. Inunedlately 
after coninicneing her confession, and as she jtrocceds 
in it, she liersclf becomes tormented " in the face of 
authority," before tiio eyes of tlio magistrates and the 
awestruck crowd. Jfer power to alliict ceases as she 
breaks loose from her compact with the Devil, wIjo 
sends some unseen confederate, not then brought 
to liglit, to wreak liis vengeance upon her for having 
confessed. Tituba, as well as the girls, showed her- 
self au adept in the arts taught in the circle. 

All we know of Sarah Osburn beyond this date arc 
the following items in the Boston jailer's bill " against 
the country," dated May 29, 1092: "To chains for 
Sarah Good and Sarah Osburn, 14 shillings : " " To 
the keeping of Sarah Osburn, from the 7th of March 
to the 10th of May, when she died, being nine weeks 
and two days, XI. 38. 5c?." 

The only further information we have of Tituba is 
from Calef, who says, " The account she since gives 
of it is, that her master I'd beat her, and otherwise 
abuse her, to make her ionfess and accuse (such as 
he called) her sister-witches ; and that whatsoever slie 
said by way of confessing or accusing others was the 
effect of such usage : her master refused to pay her fees, 
unless she would stand to what she had said. Calef 
further states that she laid in jail until finally " sold for 
her fees." The jailer's charge for her " diet in prison 
for a year and a month " appears in a shape that cor- 
roborates Calef's statements, which were prepared for 
publication in 1G97, and printed in London in 1700. 

I !; 

lii ii 



Alllioii^Mi /ojiluusly (Icvotod to tlici work of exposing 
tijc enoriuitics comiccted with tlio witclii'rart prosecu- 
tions, thoro is 110 ground to disputt; the venicily oT 
Ciilef an to mutters oC I'aet. AVIiat !i«; says of the dec- 
hiratioiis «)f Titiiba, siiljsiMpieut to her exainiuatioii, is 
(|iiile consistent with a critical analysis of the details 
of the record of that examination. It can hardly bo 
doubted, whatever the auiount of severity emj)loyed to 
make her act the part assigned her, that she was used 
as an instrument to give ctTect to the delusion. 

Now let us consider the state of things that had 
been brought al)out in the village, and in the sur- 
rounding coiuitry, at the cl )so of the fust week in 
March, 1(10:^. The terrible sullerings of the girls iii 
^Ir. Parris's family and of their associates, for tho 
two i»reccding months, had become known far and 
wide. A universal sympathy was awakened in their 
behalf; and a sentiment of horror sunk deep into all 
hearts, at tho dread demonstration of the diabolical 
rage in their aflllcted and tortured j)ersons. A few, 
very few, distrusted ; but the great majority, ninety- 
nine in a hundred of all the people, were completely 
swept into the torrent. Nathaniel Putnam and Nathan- 
iel Ingcrsoll were entirely deluded, and continued so 
to the end. Even Joseph Hutchinson v/as, for a while, 
carried away. The physicians had all given their 
opinion that the girls were suffering from an " evil 
hand." The neighboring ministers, after a day's fast- 
ing and prayer, and a scrutinizing inspection of the 
condition of the afTlicted children, had given it, as 

TOL. II, 3 





it ; 

the result of their most solemn judgment, that it was 
a case rf witchcraft. Persons from the neighboring 
towns had oomc to the place, and with their oavu eyes 
received dcanonstration of the same fact. Mr. Parris 
made it the topic of his public prayers and preaching. 
The girls, Sunday after Sunday, were under the malign 
influence, to the disturbance and affrightment of the 
congregation. In all companies, in all families, all 
the day long, the sufferings and distraction occurring 
in the houses of Mr. Parris, Thomas Putnam, and 
others, and in the meeting-house, were topics of ex- 
cited conversation : and every voice was loud in de- 
manding, every mind earnest to ascertain, who were 
the persons, in confederacy with the Devil, thus tortur- 
ing, pinching, convulsing, and bringing to the last 
extremities of mortal agony, these afflicted girls. 
Every one felt, that, if the guilty authors of the mis- 
chief could not be discovered, and put out of the way, 
no one was safe for a moment. At length, when the 
girls cried out upon Good, Osburn, and Tituba, there 
was a general sense of satisfaction and relief. It was 
thought that Satan's power might be checked. The se- 
lection of the first victims was well made. They were 
just the kind of persons whom the public prejudice 
and credulity were prepared to suspect and condemn. 
Their examination was looked for with the utmost in- 
terest, and all flocked to witness the proceedings. 

In considering the state of mind of the people, 
as they crowded iiito and around the old meeting- 
house, we can have no difliculty in realizing the 




tremendous effects of what there occurred. It was 
felt that then, on that spot, the most momentous crisis 
in tlie world's history had come. A crime, in com- 
parison with which all other crimes sink out of notice, 
was heing notoriously and defiantly committed in their 
midst. The great enemy of God and man was let 
loose among them. What had filled the hearts of 
mankind for ages, the world over, with dread appre- 
hension, was come to pass ; and in that village the 
great battle, on whose issue the preservation of the 
kingdom of the Lord on the earth was suspended, had 
begun. Indeed, no language, no imagery, no concep- 
tion of ours, can adequately express the feeling of 
awful and terrible solemnity with which all were over- 
whelmed. No body of men ever convened in a more 
highly wrought state of excitement than pervaded that 
assembly, when the magistrates entered, in all their 
stern authority, and the scene opened on the 1st of 
March, 1692. A minister, probably Mr. Parris, began, 
according to the custom of the times, with prayer. 
From what we know of his skill and talent in ineet- 
ing such occasions, it may well be supposed that his 
language and manner heightened still more the pas- 
sions of the hour. The marshal, of tall and imposing 
stature and aspect, accompanied by his constables, 
brought in the prisoners. Sarah Good, a poverty- 
stricken, wandering, and wretched victim of ill-fortune 
and ill-usage, was put to the bar. Every effort was 
made by the examhiing magistrate, aided by the offi- 
cious interference of the marshal, or other deluded or 

r ! 

K t 

1 ' I 
I I 

i\ ! 

1 1 1 



evil-disposed persons, — who, like liim, were permitted 
to interpose with charges or abusive expressions, — to 
overawe and confound, involve in contradictions, and 
mislead the poor creature, and force her to confess 
herself guilty and accuse others. In due time, the 
" afflicted children " were brought in ; and a scene 
ensued, such as no person in that crowd or in that 
generation had ever witnessed before. Immediately 
on being confronted with the prisoner, and meeting 
her eye, tliey fell, as if struck dead, to the floor; or 
screeched in agony ; or went into fearful spasms or 
convulsive fits ; or cried out that they were pricked with 
pins, pinched, or throttled by invisible hands. They 
were severally brought up to the prisoner, and, upon 
touching her person, instantly became calm, quiet, 
and fully restored to their senses. With one voice 
they all declared that Sarah Good had thus tormented 
them, by her power as a witch in league with the 
Devil. The truth of this charge, in the effect pro- 
duced by the malign influence proceeding from her, 
was thus visible to all eyes. All saw, too, how in- 
stantly upon touching her the diabolical effect ceased ; 
the malignant fluid passing back, like an electric stream, 
into the body of the witch. The spectacle was re- 
peated once and again, the acting perfect, and the delu- 
sion consummated. The magistrates and all present 
considered the guilt of the prisoner demonstrated, and 
regarded her as wilfully and wickedly obstinate in not 
at once confessing what her eyes, as well as theirs, 
saw. Her refusal to confess was considered as the 





highest proof of her guilt. Tliey passed jiKlgment 
against her, cominittcd her to the marshal, who hurried 
her to prison, bound her with cords, and loaded her 
with irons ; for it was thought that no ordinary fasten- 
ings could hold a witch. Similar proceedings, with 
suitable variations, were had with Sarah Osburn and 
Tituba. The confession of the last-named, the imme- 
diate relief thereafter of the afflicted children, and the 
dreadful torments which Tituba herself experienced, 
on the spot, from the unseen hand of the Devil 
wreaking vengeance upon her, put the finishing touch 
to the delusion. The excitement was kept up, and 
spread far and wide, by the officers and magistrates 
riding in cavalcade, day after day, to and from the 
town and village ; and by the constables, with their 
assistants, carrying their manacled prisoners from 
jail to jail in Ipswich, Salem, and Boston. 

The point was now reached when the accusers could 
safely strike at higher game. But time was taken to 
mature arrangements. Great curiosity was felt to 
know who the other two were whom Tituba saw in con- 
nection with Good and Osburn in their hellish opera- 
tions. The girls continued to suffer torments and fall 
in fits, and were constantly urged by large numbers of 
people, going from house to house to witness their suf- 
ferings, to reveal who the witches were that still afllicted 
them. When all was prepared, they began to cry out, 
with more or less distinctness ; at first, in significant 
but general descriptions, and at last calling names. 
The next victim was also well chosen. An account 





i i 

I. i 

has been given, in the First Part, of the notoriety 
which circumstances had attaclied to Giles Corey. 
In 1691 lie became a member of the church, being 
then (Vol. I. p. 182) eighty years of age. Four 
daughters, all probably by his first wife Margaret, the 
only children of whom there is any mention, were 
married to John Moulton, John Parker, and Henry 
Crosby, of Salem, and William Cleaves, of Beverly. 
On the 11th of April, 1664, Corey was married to 
Mary Britt, who died, as appears by the inscription on 
her gravestone in the old Salem burial-ground, Aug. 
27, 1684. Martha was his third wife. Her age 
is unknown. It was entered on the record of the 
village church, at the time of her admission to it, 
April 27, 1690 ; but the figures are worn away from 
the edge of the page. She was a very intelligent and 
devout person. 

When the proceedings relating to witchcraft began, 
she did not approve of them, and expressed her want 
of faith in the " afflicted children." She discounte- 
nanced the whole affair, and would not follow the 
multitude to the examinations ; but was said to have 
spoken freely of the course of the magistrates, saying 
that their eyes were blinded, and that she could 
open them. It seemed to her clear that they were 
violating common sense and the Word of God, and 
she was confident that she could convince them of 
their errors. Instead of falling into the delusion, 
she applied herself with renewed earnestness to keep 
her own mind under the influence of prayer, and 

III ' 



spent more time in devotion tlian ever before. Her 
husband, however, was completely carried away by 
the prevalent fanaticism, believed all he heard, and 
frequented the examinations and the exliibitions of 
the afilictcd children. This disagreement became 
quite serious. Her preferring to stay at home, shun- 
ning the proceedings, and expressing her disappro- 
bation of what was going on, caused r- i estrangement 
between them. Her peculiar course created com- 
ment, in which he and two of his sons-in-law took 
part. Some strong expressions were used by him, 
because she acted so strangely at variance with every- 
body else. Her spending so much time on her knees 
in devotion was looked upon as a matter of suspicion. 
It was said that she tried to prevent him from follow- 
ing up the examinations, and went so far as to remove 
the saddle from the horse brought up to convey him 
to some meeting at the village connected with the 
witchcraft excitement. Angry words, uttered by him, 
were heard and repeated. As she was a woman of 
notable piety, a professor of religion, and a member 
of the church, it was evident that her case, if she were 
proceeded against, would still more heighten the panic, 
and convulse the public mind. It would give ground 
for an idea which the managers of the affair desired 
to circulate, that the Devil had succeeded in making 
inroads into the very heart of the church, and was 
bringing into confederacy with him aged and eminent 
church-members, who, under color of their profession, 
threatened to extend his influence to the overthrow of 



.1 • 

I ! 



all religion. It was, indcctl, established in the i)()pular 
sentiments, as a sign and mark of tiic Devil's coming, 
that many professing godliness would join his standard. 
For a day or two, it was whispered round that per- 
sons in great repute for piety were in the diabolical 
confederacy, and about to bo unmasked. The name 
of ]\Iartha Corey, whose open opposition to the j)ro- 
ceedings had l)ecome known, was passed among the 
gii'ls in an under-breath, and caught from one to an- 
other among those managing the affiiir. On the 12th 
of MarcU, Edward Putnam and Ezckiel Cheever, having 
heard Ann P juun declare that Goody Corey did 
often a])pear to her, and torture her by pinching and 
otherwise, thought it their duty to go to her^ and see 
what she would say to this complaint ; " she being in 
church covenant with us." They mounted their hor- 
ses about " the middle of the afternoon," and first went 
to the house of Thomas Putnam to see his daughter 
Ann, to learn from her what clothes Goody Corey ap- 
peared to her in, in order to judge Avhether she might 
not have been mistaken in the person. The girl told 
them, that Goody Corey, knowing that they contem- 
plated making this visit, had just appeared in spirit 
to her, but had blinded her so that she could not 
tell what clothes she wore. Highly wrought upon by 
the extraordinary statement of tlie girl, which they 
received with perfect credulity, the two brethren re- 
mounted, and pursued their way. Goody Corey had 
heard tliat her name had been bandied about by the 
accusing girls : she also knew that it was one of th'^Ir 

^'' i!ii 



arts to pi'ctciul to 8cc the clothes people were wearing 
at the time their spectres appeared to them. Thib 
required, indeed, no great amount of necromancy ; as 
it is not probahle that tliere was much variety in the 
costume of farmer's wives, at that time, while about 
their ordinary domestic engagements. 

They found her alone in her house. As soon as 
they conunenced conversation, " in a smiling manner 
she said, ' I know what you are come for ; you are come 
to tallc with me about being a witch, but I am none : 
I cannot help people's tallving of me. ' " Edward Put- 
nam acknowledged that their visit was in consequence 
of complaints made against her by the afHictcd chil- 
dren. She inquired whether they had undertaken to 
describe the clothes she then wore. They answered 
that they had not, and proceeded to repeat what Ann 
Putnam had said to them about her blinding her so 
that she could not see her clothes. At this she smiled, 
no doubt at Ann's cunning artifice to escape having to 
say wliat dress she then had on. She declared to the 
two brethren, that " she did not think that there were 
any witches." After considerable talk, in which they 
did not get much to further their purpose, they took 
their leav . Tlie account of this interview, given by 
Putnam and Clieever, indicates that Martha Corey 
was a sensible, enlightened, and sprightly woman, per- 
fectly free from the delusion of the day, courteous in 
her manners and bearing, and a Christian, well 
grounded in Scripture. 

The two brethren returned for*^hwith to Thomas 





Putnam's house. Ann told tlicni that Goody Corey 
had not troul)lod her, nor her spectre appeared, in 
their al)seiicc. She '.vas not inclined to artbrd them 
an opportunity to apply the test of the dress. Both 
the women showed great acuteness and caution. As 
Corey expected the visit, and had heard that the girls 
pretended to be able to say what dress persons were 
wearing, she pr(^bably had attired herself in an un- 
usual way on the occasion, to put them at fault, and 
expose the falseness of their claims to preternatural 
knowledge; and Ann Putnam — her sagacity suggest- 
ing the risk she was running in the matter of Corey's 
dress — took refuge in the pretence of blindness. The 
brethren vrere too much under delusion to sec through 
the sharp practice of both of them, but considered the 
fact of Corey's inquiring of them whether Ann de- 
scribed her dress, as, under the circumstances, proof 
positive against the former. 

Wishing to make assurance doubly sure, and to 
fasten the charge upon Martha Corey, the managers of 
the affair sent for her to come to the house of Thomas 
Putnam two days after this conference. Edward Put- 
nam was present, and testified that his niece Ann, 
immediately upon the entrance of Goodwife Corey, 
experienced the most dreadful convulsions and tor- 
tures and distinctly and positively declared that Corey 
was the author of her sufferings. This was regarded 
as conclusive evidence ; and, on the 19th of March, a 
warrant was issued for her arrest. She was brought 
to the house of Nathaniel Ingersoll, on Monday the 



2l8t ; and tlio followinj^ is tlic account of hor cxainina- 
tioii, ill tljo haiuhvritinj^ of Mr. l^arris. Tiio j)rv)cecd- 
ings took place in tlie mceting-housc at the village. 
Tiicy were introduced by a ])rayer from the Rev. 
Nicholas Noyos. On some of those occasions Mr. 
Hale and perhaps others, but usually Mr. Noyes or 
Mr. Parris officiated. We may suppose, from what 
we know of their general deportment in connection 
with these scenes, that their performances, under the 
cover of a devotional exercise, expressed and enforced 
a decided prejudgment of the case in hand against 
the prisoners, and partook of the character of indict- 
ments as mucl; as of prayers. 

" Tlie Examination of Martha Corey. 

" Mr. IIatiioune : You are now iu the bauds of author- 
ity. Tell ire, now, why you hurt these persons. — I do not. 

" Who doth ? — I'lay, give me leave to go to prayer. 

" (Tliis request was made sundry times.) 

" We do not send for you to go to prayer ; but tell me why 
you hurt these. — I am an innocent person. I never bad to 
do with witchcraft since I was born. I am a gospel woman. 

" Do not you see these complain of you ? — The Lord 
open the eyes of the magistrates and ministei's : the Lord 
show bis power to discover the guilty. 

" Tell us who hurts these children. — I do not know. 

" If you be guilty of this fact, do you think you can bide 
it ? — The Lord knows. 

" Well, tell us what you know of this matter. — Why, 
I am a gospel woman ; and do you think I can have to do 
with w'itchcraft too ? 

" How could you tell, then, that the child was bid to ob- 




!• I 'iii 

|y ^'1 

serve what clotlics yoii wore, wlien some came to npeak with 

" (Cliecvcr interrupted her, and bid her not begin wilh u 
lie; and so Edward Putnam declared the matter.) 

" Mr. IIatiiohxk : Who toUl you that? — lie said the 
child said. 

" CiiKKVKu: You speak falsely. 

" (Tiien Edward Putnam read again.) 

"Mr. IIatiiokne : Wliy did you ask if the child told what 
clothes you wore ? — My husband told me the others told. 

" Who told you about the clothes ? Wliy did you ask 
that questiou? — Because I heard the children told what 
clothes the others wore. 

" Goodman Corey, did you tell her ? 

" (Tiie old man denied that he told her so.) 

" Did you not say your husband told you so ? 

" (No answer.) 

" Who hurts these children? Now look upon them. — 
I cannot help it. 

" Did you not say you would tell the truth why you 
asked that questiou? how came you to the knowledge? — 
I did but ask. 

" You dare thus to lie in all this assembly. Y'ou are 
now before authority. I expect the truth : you promised it. 
Speak now, and tell who told you what clothes. — Nobody. 

" How came you to know that the children would be 
examined what clothes you wore ? — Because I thought the 
child was wiser than anybody if she knew. 

" Give an answer : you said your husband told you. — 
He told me the children said I afflicted them. 

" How do you know what they came for ? Answer me 
this truly : will you say how you came to know what they 



Civmc for? — I had heard spcocli that the chilch'cn said I 
tronbU'd them, aud 1 thought that they might come to ex- 

" lint how did you know il ? — I thought tliey di(h 

" Did not you say you wouhl tell the truth ? who told you 
what they came for ? — Nobody. 

" How did you know ? — I did think so. 

" But you said you knew so. 

" (CiiiLDKKN : There is a man whisjicriug in her ear.) 

" IIathoisnk continued: "What did he say to you? — 
We nnist not believe all that these distracted children say. 

"Cannot you tell what that man whispered? — 1 saw 

" But did not you hear ? — No. 

" (Here was extreme agony of all the afflicted.) 

" If you expect mercy of God, you must look for it io 
God's way, by confession. Do you think to find mercy by 
aggravating your sins ? — A true thing. 

" Look for it, then, in God's way. — So 1 do. 

"Give glory to God aud confess, then. — But I cannot 

" Do not you see how these afflicted do charge you ? — 
We must not believe distracted persons. 

" Who do you improve to hurt them ? — I improved none. 

" Did not you say our eyes were blinded, you would open 
them? — Yes, to accuse the innocent, 

" (Then Crosby gave in evidence.) 

" Why cannot the girl stand before you ? — I do not know. 

" What did you mean by that? — I saw them fall down. 

" It seems to be an insulting sptjcn, as if they could not 
stand before you. — They cannot sta id before others. 

" But you said they cannot stanJ before you. Toll me 

'' H 




\ V 

K J 

wlmt was Ihiit tiirnin;; upon tlio f»pit liy you ? — You believo 
the c'liildron tlitit are (li.stnu'ttul. I saw no spit. 

" I lore arc more than two that accuse you tor witchcraft. 
What do yoti say? — I am innocent. 

*' (Then Mr. IFathorne read further of Crosby's evidence.) 

"What did you mean by that, — the Devil couhl not 
stand before you ? 

" (She denied it. Three or four sober witnesses con- 
firmed it.) 

" What can I do ? Many rise up a;;ainst me. 

*' Why, confess. — So 1 wouhl, if 1 were jj;uilty. 

" Here are sober persons. AVhat do you say to them ? 
You are a <;;o8pel wonuin ; will you lie ? 

" (Abi;^ail cried out, ' Next sabbath is sacrament-day; 
but she shall not come there.') 

" I do not care. 

" You charge these children with distraction : it is a note 
of distraction wiien persons vary in a minute ; but these fix 
upon you. This is not the manner of distraction. — When 
all are against me, what can I help it ? 

" Now tell me the truth, will you ? Why did you say that 
the magistrates' and ministers' eyes were blinded, you 
would open them ? 

" (Siie laughed, and denied it.) 

*' Now tell us how we shall know who doth hurt these, if 
you do not ? — Can an innocent person be guilty ? 

" L)o you deny these words ? — Yes. 

" Tell us who hurts these. We came to be a terror to 
evil-doers. Y'^ou say you would open our eyes, we are 
blind. — If you say I am a witch. 

*' Y''ou said you would show us. 

«» (She denied it.) 

1 1 

> / 




Why do you not now hhow us? — I e»uiu)t ti'll : I do 

not know 

*' What <lid you Htrikc the iiuiid at Mr. 'I'ho. rutnanj'« 
with ? — I never struck her in my life. 

" There are tw<» that saw you sti ike her with an iron rod. 
— I had no hand in it. 

" Wlio had ? Do you helieve these chihh'cn are hc- 
witehed ? — They may, lor uuyht I know : 1 have no hand 
in it. 

"You pay you are no witch. Maybe you mean you 
never covenanted with the Devil. Did vou never deal with 



<o, never, 

" What bird was that the children snoke oi? 





(Then witnesses spoke : What bird was it ?) 

now no 




may be you nave engaged you wu 


II not 



God knows. — So he doth. 

"Do you believe you shall go unpunished? — I have 
nothing to do with witchcraft. 

" Why Avas you not willing your husband should come to 
the former session here ? — But he came, for all. 

" Did not you take the saddle off ? — 1 did not know 
what it Avas for. 

" Did you not know Avhat it was for ? — I did not know 
that it would be to any benefit. 

" (Somebody said that she would not have them help to 
find out witches.) 

" Did you not say you would open our eyes ? Why do 
you not ? — I never thought of a witch. 

" Is it a laughing matter to see these afflicted persons ? 

" (She denied it. Several prove it.) 

" Ye are all against me, and I cannot help it. 








" Do not you believe there are witches io the couutry ? 

— I do not know that there is any. 

" Do not you know that Tituba confessed it? — I did not 
hear her speak. 

" I find yon will own nothing without several v.'itnesses, 
and yet you will deny for all. 

" (It was noted, when she bit her lip, several of the 
afflicted were bitten. When she was urged upon it that she 
bit her lip, saith she, What harm is there in it?) 

"(Mr. NoYES : I believe it is apparent she practiseth 
witchcn'ft in the congregation: there is no need of images.) 

" What do you say to all these things that are apparent ? 

— If you will all go hang me, how can I help it ? 

" Were you to serve the Devil ten years ? Tell how many. 

" (She laughed. The children cried there was a yellow- 
bird with her. AVhen Mr. Ilathorne asked her about it, she 
laugLed. W^hen her hands Avere at liberty, the afflicted per- 
sons wei^ pincucd.) 

"• Wii^ do not you ^ell how the Devil comes in your shape, 
and hui-ts these? You said you would. — How can I know 
how ? 

" Why did you say you would show us ? 

*' (8he laughed again.) 

" What book is tiiat you would have these children write 
in? — AVhat book? Where should I have a book? I showed 
them none, nor have none, nor brought none. 

" (The afflicted cried out there was a man whispering in 
her ears.) 

" What book did you carry to Mary Walcot? — I caiTied 
none. If the Devil appears in my shape — 

" (Then Needham said that Parker, some time ago, 
thought this woman was a witch.) 





" Who is your God ? — The God that made me. 

" What is his name? — Jehovah. 

*' Do you know any other name ? — God Ahiiighty. 

" Doth he tell you, that you pray to, that he is God Al- 
mighty ? — Who do I worship but the God that made 
[me] ? 

" How many gods are there ? — One. 

"How many persons? — Three. 

" Cannot you say, So there is one God in three blessed 
persons ? 

[The answer is destroyed, being written in the fold of the 
paper, and wholly worn off'.j 

" Do not you see these children and women are ratiopnl 
and sober as their neighbors, when your hands are fas- 
tened ? 

" (Immediately they were seized with fits : and the 
standers-by said she was squeezing her fingers, her hands 
being eased by them that held them on purpose for 

" Quickly after, the marshal said, ' She hath bit her lip ; ' 
and immediately the afflicted were in an uproar.) 

" [Tell] why you hurt these, or who doth ? 

" (She denieth any hand in it.) 

" Why did you say, if you were a witch, you should have 
no pardon? — Because I am a woman." 



"Salem Village, March the 21st, 1692. — The Rev- 
erend Mr. Samuel Parris, being desired to take, in writing, 
the examination of Martha Corey, hath returned it, as afore- 

" Upon hearing the aforesaid, and seeing Avhat we did 
then see, together with the charges of the persons then pres- 

VOL. II. 4 

'T'-'I^MilM •■. 


I! I 



ent, we committed M.artlia Corey, the wife of Giles Corey, 
of Salem Farms, unto the gaol in Salem, as per mittimus 

then given out. 

The foregoing is a full copy of the original docu- 
ment. One of Giles Corey's daughters, Deliverance, 
had married, June 5, 1683, Henry Crosby, who lived 
on land conveyed to him by her father in the imme- 
diate neighborhood. He was the person whose written 
testimony was read by the magistrate. Its purport 
seems to have been to prove that Martha Corey had said 
that the accusing girls could not stand before lier, and 
that tlie Devil could not stand before her. She had, 
undoubtedly, great confidence in her own innocence, 
and in the power of truth and prayer, to silence false 
accusers, and expressed herself in the forcible language 
which Parris's report of the examination shows that 
she was well able to use. It is almost amusing to see 
how the pride of the magistrates was touched, and 
their wrath kindled, by what she was reported to have 
said, " that the magistrates' and ministers' eyes w^ere 
blinded, and that she would open them." It rankled 
in Hathorne's breast : he returns to it again and 
again, and works himself up to a higher degree of 
resentment on each recurrence. Mr. Noycs's ire was 



roused, and he, too, put in a stroke. It will be noticed, 
that she avoided a contradiction of her husband, and 
could not be brought to give the names of persons from 
whom she had received information. " If you will all 
go hang me, how can I help it ? " " Ye are all against 
me." " What can I do, when many rise up against 
me ? " " When all are against me, what can I [say 
to] help it? " Situated as she was, all that she could 
do was to give them no advantage, or op])ortunity to 
ensnare her, and to avoid compromising others ; and 
it must be allowed that she showed much })rcsence 
and firmness of mind. Her request, made at the 
opening of the examination, and at " sundry times," 
to " go to prayer," somewhat confounded them. She 
probably was led to make and urge the request par- 
ticularly in consequence of the tenor of jVfr. Noyes's 
prayer at the opening. She felt that it was no more 
than fair that there should be a prayer on her side, as 
w oil as on the other. It might well be feared, that, if 
allowed to offer a prayer, coming from a person in her 
situation, an aged professor, and one accustomed to ex- 
press herself in devotional exercises, it might produce 
a deep impression upon the whole assembly. To re- 
fuse such a request had a hard look ; but, as the magis- 
trates saw, it never would have done to have permitted 
it. It would have reversed the position of all con- 
cerned. The latter part of the examination has the 
appearance that she was susj)ccted to be unsound on a 
particular article of the prevalent creed. It is much 
to be regretted that the abrasion of the paper at the 


t !^ 





folding has obliterated her last answer to this part of 
the inquisition. It is singular that Mr. Parris has left 
the blank in her final answer. Probably she used her 
customary expression, " I am a gospel woman." The 
writing, at this point, is very clear .« id distinct ; and a 
vacant space is left, just as it is given above. 

The fact that Martha Corey was known to be an 
eminently religious person, and very much given to 
acts of devotion, constituted a serious obstac j, no 
doubt, in the way of the prosecutors. Parris's record 
of the examination shows how they managed to get 
over it. They gave the impression that her frequent 
and long prayers were addressed to the Devil. 

Tlic disagreement between her and her husband, 
touching the witchcraft prosecutions, brought him into 
a very uncomfortable predicament. With his charac- 
teristic imprudence of speecli, he had probably ex- 
pressed himself strongly against her unbelief in the 
sufferings of the girls and her refusal to attend 
the exhibitions of their tortures, or the examination 
of persons accused. He was, unquestionably, highly 
shocked and incensed at her open repudiation of the 
whole doctrine of witchcraft. Although he had be- 
come, in his old age, a professor and a fervently reli- 
gious man, perhaps he fell back, in his resentment of 
her course, into his life-long rough phrases, and said 
that she acted as though the Devil was in her. He 
might have said that she prayed like a witch. Being 
entirely carried away by the delusion, he had his own 
marvellous stories to tell about his cattle's being be- 



witched, &c. His talk, undoubtedly, came to the 
ears of the prosecutors ; and they seem to have taken 
steps to induce him to come forward as a witness 
against her. The following document is among the 
papers : — 

" The evidence of Giles Corey testifieth and saith, that 
last Saturday, in the eveninf?, sitting by the fire, my wife 
asked me to go to bed. I told her I would go to prayer ; 
and, when I went to prayer, I could not utter my desires 
Avitli any sense, nor open my mouth to speak. 

" My wife did perceive it, and came towards me, and said 
she was coming to me. 

" After this, in a little space, I did, according to my 
measure, attend the duty, 

" Some time last week, I fetched an ox, well, out of the 
woods about noon : and, he laying down in the yard, I w-^nt 
to raise him to yoke him ; but he could not rise, hut dragged 
his hinder parts, as if he had been hip-shot. But after did 

" I had a cat sometimes last week strangely taken on the 
sudden, and did make me think she would have died pres- 
ently. My wife bid me knock her in the head, but I did 
not ; and since, she is well. 

" Another time, going to duties, I was interrupted for a 
space ; but afterward I was helped according to my poor 
measure. My wife hath been wont to sit up after I went tO' 
bed ; and I have perceived her to kneel down on the hearth, 
as if she were at prayer, but heard nothing. 

" At the examination of Sarah Good and others, my 
wife was willing 

" March 24, 1692." 




The foregoing document does not express the idea 
that he thought his wife was a witch, lie states what 
he ol)served, and what happened to him and to his 
cattle. He evidently supposed they were l)cwitched, 
and tliat he was obstructed, in going to prayer, in a 
strange manner ; but he does not, in terms, cliarge it 
upon her. It gives an interesting insight of tho inner- 
most domestic life of the period, in a fiivmhouse, and 
exhibits striiiing touches of the cliaracter and ways of 
these two old people. It illustrates the state of the 
imagination prevailing among those who were carried 
away by the delusion. If an ox had a sprained muscle, 
or a cat a fit of indigestion, it was thought to be the 
work of an evil hand. Poor old Giles had come late to 
a religious life, and, it is to be feared, was a novice in 
prayer. It is no wonder that he was not an adept in 
" uttering his desires," and experienced occasionally 
some difficulty in arranging and expressing his de- 
votional sentiments. 

There is something very singular in the appearance 
of the foregoing deposition. Purporting to be a piece 
of testimony, it was not given in the usual and reg- 
ular way. It does not indicate before whom it was 
made. It is not attested in the ordinary manner ; 
apparently, was not sworn to in the presence of per- 
sons authorized to act in such cases ; was never offered 
in court or anywhere. It is a disconnected paper 
found among the remnants of the miscellaneous col- 
lection in the clerk's office, and is evidently an un- 
finished document ; the words in Italics, at the close, 
being erased by a line running through them. 



It is probable tliat tlic parties who tried to get the 
old man to testily against his wife discovered that 
tliey could not draw any thing from Isim to answer 
their designs, but that there was danger that his evi- 
dence would bo favorable to her, and gave up the at- 
tempt to use him on the occasion. The fact that he 
would not lend himself to their purposes perhaps led 
to resentment on their part, Avhich may cx))lain the 
subsequent proceedings against him. 

Tlie document, in its chirography, suggests the idea 
that it was written by Mr. Noyes, which is not improb- 
able, as Corey was a member of his congregation and 
church. Noyes was deeply implicated in the prosecu- 
tions, and violent in driving them on. The hand- 
writing of the original papers reveals the agency of 
those who were the most busy in procuring evidence 
.against persons accused. Tliat of Thomas Putnam 
occurs in very many iLstanccs. But Mr. Parris was, 
beyond all others, tlie busiest and most active prosecu- 
tor. The depositions of tiie child Abigail Williams, 
his niece and a member of his iiimily, were written by 
him, as also a great number of others. He took down 
most of the examinations, put in a deposition of his 
own whenever he could, and was always ready to in- 
dorse those of others. 

It will be remembered, that, when Tituba was put 
through her examination, she said " four women 
sometimes hurt the children." She named Good and 
Osburn, but pretended to have been blinded as to 
the others. Martha Corey was, in due time, as we 

i . 

h 1 


^ : I 

I i 




have seen, brought out. The fourtli was the venerable 
head of a large and prominent family, and a member 
of the molher-church in Salem. She had never trans- 
ferred her relations to the village churcli, with which, 
however, she had generally worshipped, and probably 
communed. Being one of the chief matrons of the 
place, she was seated in the meeting-house with ladies 
of similar age and standing, occuj>ying the same bench 
or compartment with the widow of Thomas Putnam, 
Sr. The women were seated separately from the 
men ; and the only rule applied among them was emi- 
nence in years and respectability. 

It has always been considered strange and unac- 
countable, that a person of such acknowledged worth 
as Rebecca Nurse, of infirm health and advanced 
years, should have been selected among the early vic- 
tims of the witclicraft prosecutions. Jealousies and 
prejudices, such as often infest rural neighborhoods, 
may have been engendered, in minds open to such 
influences, by the prosperity and growing influence of 
her family. It may be that animosities kindled by the 
long and violent land controversy, with which many 
partiv;s had been incidentally connected, lingered in 
some breasts. There are decided indications, that the 
passions awakened by the angry contest between the 
village and " Topsfield men," and which the collisions 
of a half-century had all along exasperated and hard- 
ened, may have been concentrated against the Nurses. 
Isaac Easty, whose wife was a sister of Rebecca Nurse, 
and the Townes, who were her brothers or near kins- 



men, were tlie leaders of tiie Topsficld men. It is a 
significant circumstance, in this connection, tl>nt to 
one of tlie most vehement resohitions passed at meet- 
ings of the inliahitants of tlie village, against the 
claims of Topsficld, Samuel Nurse, lier eldest son, 
and Thomas Preston, her eldest son-in-law, entered 
their protest on the record ; and, on another similar 
occasion, her husband Francis Nurse, her son Samuel, 
and two of her sons-in-law, Preston and Tarbell, took 
the same course. So far as the family sided with 
Topsfield in that controversy, it naturally exposed 
them to the ill-will of the people of the village. An 
analysis of the names and residences of the persons 
proceeded against, througiiout the prosecutions, will 
show to what an extent hostile motives were supplied 
from this quarter. Tiie families of Wildes, How, 
Hobbs, Towne, Easty, and others who were " cried 
out" upon by the afflicted children, occupied lands 
claimed by parties adverse to the village. What, 
more than jill these causes, was sufficient to create a 
feeling against the Nurses, is the fact that they were 
opposed to the party which had existed from the begin- 
ning hi the parish composed originally of the friends 
of Bayley. To crown the whole, when the excitement 
occasioned by the extraordinary doings in Mr. Parris's 
family began to display itself, and the " afflicted chil- 
dren " were brought into notice, the members of this 
family, with the exception, for a time, of Thomas Pres- 
ton, discountenanced the whole tiling. They absented 
themselves from meeting, on account of the disturb- 

':- I 





anccs and disorders tlic girls wore allowed to make 
diiriiio- the services of worship, in the congregation, 
on the Lord's Day. Unfriendly remarks, from what- 
ever cause, made in the hearing of the girls, providtsd 
suhjeets for them to act upon. Some persons behind 
them, suggesting names in this way, whether careless- 
ly or with malicious intent, were guilty of all the 
misery that was created and blood that was shed. 

It became a toj)ic of rumor, that Rebecca Nurse was 
soon to bo brought out. It reached the cars of her 
friends, and the following document comes in at this 
point : — 

" We whose names are uudcrwritten being desired to go 
to Goodman Nurse his house, to speuk with his wife, and to 
toll her that several of the iifllieted persons mentioned her ; 
and accordingly we went, and we found her in a weak and 
low condition in body as she told us, and had been sick 
almost a Aveek. And we asked how it was otherwise Avith 
her : and she said she blessed God for it, she had more of 
his presence in this sickness than sometime she have had, but 
not so much as she desired ; but she would, with the apostle, 
press forward to the mark ; and many other places of Scrip- 
ture to the like purpose. And then, of her own accord, she 
began to speak of the affliction that was amongst them, and 
in particular of Mr. Parris his family, and how she was 
grieved for them, though she had not been to see them, by 
reason of fits that she formerly used to have ; for people 
said it was awful to behold : but she pitied them with all 
her heart, and went to God for them. But she said she 
heard that there was persons spoke of that were as innocent 
as she was, she believed ; and, after much to this purpose, 

' i 



wc told her we heard that she was spoken of also. ' Well,* slio 
said, ' it' it be so, the will of the Lord he done: ' she sat still 
a while, heiii^ as it were amazed ; and then she said, ' Well, 
as to this thinj,' I am as innocent as the child unborn ; but 
surely,' she said, ' what sin hath God found out in me unre- 
pcnted of, that he should lay such an atlliction upon me in 
my old age?' and, aecordin;; to our best observation, wo 
could not discern that she knew what we came for before 
we told her. Isuai.l Poutkr, 


"To the substance of what is above, we, if called thereto, 
are ready to testify on oath. Danucl Ani>I{i:w, 

Peti>:u Clovsi:." 

Elizabeth Porter, who joins her husband in making 
this statement, was a sister of John Hathorno, the 
examining magistrate, and the mother-in-hiw of Joseph 
Putnam, wlio was among the very few that condemned 
the proceedings from the first. She stood, therefore, 
between the two parties. The character of each of 
the signers and indorsors of this interesting paper 
is sufficient proof that its statements are truthful. It 
cannot but excite the most atrecting sensibilities in 
every breast. Tliis venerable lady, whose conversa- 
tion and bearing were so truly saint-like, was an in- 
valid of extremely delicate condition and appearance, 
the mother of a large family, embracing sous, daugh- 
ters, grandcliildren, and one or more great-grand- 
children. She was a woman of piety, and simplicity 
of heart. In all probability, she shared in the 
popular belief on the subject of witchcraft, and sup- 








posed tliiit the siitTtM'ings of the cliildnMi were real, 
and that tlu;y woro ulllictcd l)y an " evil hand." At tlio 
very time that she was son'owfiiUy Hyinj)athizlijg with 
them and Mr. Parris's family, and praying for tliem, 
tlicy were eirciihiting suspieions against her, and 
maturing their phms for her destruetion. 

Rehecea Nurse was a daughter of William Towno, 
of Yarmouth, Norfolk County,, where she 
was haptized, Feb. 21, 1021. Her sister Mary, who 
married Isaae Easty, was ba})ti'/cd at the same plaec, 
Aug. 24, 1():)4. The records of the First Church at 
Salem, Sept. 8, 1048, give the baptism of " Josej)h and 
Sarah, children of Sister Towne." Sarah was at that 
time seven years of age. She became the wife of 
Edmund Bridges, and afterwards of Peter Cloyse. 

On the 2od of March, a warrant was issued, on com- 
plaint of Edward Putnam, and Jonathan, son of John 
Putnam, for the arrest of " Rebecca, wife of Fran- 
cis Nurse ; " and the next morning, at eight o'clock, 
she was brought to the house of Nathaniel Inger- 
soll, in the custody of George licrrick, the marshal of 
Essex. There were several distinct indictments, four 
of which, for having practised " certain detestable arts 
called witchcraft" upon Ann Putnam, Mary Walcot, 
Elizabeth Hubbard, and Abigail Williams, are pre- 
served. The examination took place forthwith at the 
meeting-house. The age, character, connections, and 
appearance of the prisoner, made the occasiori one of 
the extremest interest. Ilathornc, the magistrate, be- 
gan the proceedings by addressing one of the afflicted : 





*' Wliat do you say? TTiivc you seen this woman hurt 
you i " The answer was, *' Ves, she l)eat me this 
morning'." Ilalhorne, a(l(h-essinj^ another of the uf- 
flicteil, said, "Al>i<j^ail, liave you l»een luirt hy this 
woman?" Abigail answered, ''Yes." At that jioint, 
Ann I'ntnam fell into a grievous lit, and, wliile iu 
her 8j)asms, eried out tluit it was Kelieeea Nurse who 
was thus allHeting her. As soon as Ann's lit was over, 
and order restored, Ilalhorne said, " (Joody Nurse, 
here are two, Ann Putnam the ehild, and Altigail 
Williams, eomplain of your iiurting them. What do 
you say to it?" The prisoner replied, "I ean say, 
before my eternal Father, I am innocent, and (Jod will 
clear my innoccncy." Hathorne, apparently touched 
for the moment hy her language and bearing, said, 
"Here is never a one in the assembly but desires it; 
but, if you be guilty, pray God discover you." Henry 
Kenney rose up from the body of the assembly to 
speak. Hathorne permitted the interruption, and said, 
" Goodman Kenney, what do you say ? " Then Ken- 
ney complained of the })risoner, " and further said, 
since this Nurse came into the house, he was seized 
twice with an amazed condition." Hathorne, address- 
ing the prisoner, said, " Not only these, but the wife of 
Mr. Thomas Putnam, accuseth you by credible infor- 
mation, and that both of tempting her to iniquity and 
of greatly hurting her." The prisoner again affirmed 
her innocence, and said, in answer to the charge of 
having hurt these persons, that " she had not been 
able to get out of doors these eight or nine days." 





Ilatlionic then called upon Edward Putnam, who, as 
the record says, " gave in his relate," which undoubt- 
edly was a statement of his having seen the afllicted 
in their sufferings, and heard them accuse Rebecca 
Nurse as their tormentor. Ilathorne said, " Is this 
true, Goody Nurse ? " She denied that she had ever 
hurt them or any one else in her life. Ilathorne 
repeated, " You see these accuse you : is it true ? " 
She answered, " No." He again put the question, 
" Arc you an innocent person relating to this witch- 
craft ? " It seems, from his manner, that he was be- 
ginning really to doubt whether she might not be 
innocent ; and perhaps the feeling of the multitude 
was yielding in her favor. 

Here Tiiomas Putnam's wife cried out, " Did you not 
bring the black man with you ? Did you not bid me 
tempt God, and die ? How oft have you oat and 
drank your own damnation ? " This sudden outbreak, 
from such a source, accomi)anied with the wild and 
apparently suiiernatural energy and uncontrollable ve- 
hemence with which the words were uttered, roused 
the multitude to the utmost pitch of horror ; and the 
prisoner seems to have been shocked at the dreadful 
exhibition of madness in the woman and in the assem- 
bly. Releasing her hands from confinement, she spread 
them out towards heaven, and exclaimed, " Lord, 
help me ! " Instantly, the whole company of the 
afflicted children " were grievously vexed." After a 
while, the tumult subsided, and Ilathorne again ad- 
dressed her, " Do you not see what a solemn condition 




these are in ? Wlicn your hands are loosed, the per- 
sons are afflicted." Then Mary Walcot and Elizabeth 
Hubbard came forward, and accused her. Ilathorne 
again addressed her, " Here are these two grown per- 
sons now accuse. What say you ? Do not you see these 
afflicted persons, and hear them accuse you ? " She 
answered, " The Lord knows I have not hurt them. 
I am an innocent person." Hathorne continued, " It 
is very awful to all to see these agonies, and you, an 
old professor, thus charged with contracting with the 
Devil by the effects of it, and yet to sec you stand with 
dry eyes where there are so many wet." She an- 
swered, " You do not know my heart." Hathorne, 
" You would do well, if you arc guilty, to confess, and 
give glory to God." — "I am as clear as the child 
unborn." Hathorne continued, " What uncertainty 
there may be in apparitions, I know not : yet this with 
me strikes hard upon you, that you are, at this very 
present, charged with familiar spirits, — this is your 
bodily person they speak to ; they say now they see 
these familiar spirits come to your bodily person. 
Now, what do you say to that ? " — "I have none, 
sir." — "If you have, confess, and give glory to God. 
I pray God clear you, if you be innocent, and, if you 
are guilty, discover you ; and therefore give me an 
upright answer. Have you any familiarity with these 
spirits ? " — " No : I have none Ijut w'ith God alone." 
It looks as if again the magistrate began to open 
his mind to a fair view of the case. He seems to 
have sought satisfaction in reference to all the charges 


?? I 





that liad been made against her. She was siif^jring 
from infirmities of body, the result not only of age, but 
of the burdens of life often pressing down the physical 
frame, })articularly of those who have borne large fami- 
lies of children. The magistrate had heard some 
malignant gossip of this kind, and he asked, " How 
came ^ou sick ? for there is an odd discourse of that in 
the moutlis of many." She replied that she suffered 
from weakness of stomach. He inquired, more spe- 
cifially, " Have you no wounds ? " Her answer was, 
that her ailments and weaknesses, all her bodily infirmi- 
ties, were the natural effects of what she had expe- 
rienced in a long life. " I have none but old age." — 
'' You do know whether you are guilty, and have 
familiarity with the Devil ; and now, when you are 
here present, to sec such a thing as these testify, — a 
black man whispering in your ear, and birds about 
you, — what do you say to it ? " — " It is all false : I 
am clear." — " Possibly, you may apprehend you are 
no witch ; but have you not been led aside by tempta- 
tions that way ? " — "I have not." At this point, it 
almost seems that Hathorne was yielding to the moral 
effect of the evidence she bore in her deportment and 
language, the impress of conscious innocence in her 
countenance, and the manifestation of true Christian 
purity and integrity in her whole manner and bearing. 
Instead of pressing her with further interrogatories, 
he gave way to an expression, in the form of a solilo- 
quy or ejaculation, " What a sad thing is it, that a 
church-member here, and now another of Salem, 





should thus be accused and charged ! " Upon liear- 
ing this rather ambiguous expression of tlic magis- 
trate, Mrs. Pope fell into a grievous fit. 

Mrs. Pope was the wife of Joseph Pope, living with 
his mother, the widow Gertrude Pope, on the farm 
shown on the map. She had followed up the meet- 
ings of the circle, been a constant witness of the 
sufferings of the " afflicted children," and attended 
all the public examinations, until her nervous sys- 
tem was excited beyond restraint, and for a while 
she went into fits and her imagination was bewil- 
dered. She acted with the accusers, and participated 
in thwir sufferings. On some occasions, her conduct 
was wild and extravagant to the highest degree. At 
the examinatioii of Martha Corey, she was conspicuous 
for the violence of her actions. In the midst of the 
proceedings, and in the presence of the magistrates 
and hundreds of people, she threw her muff at the 
prisoner ; and, that missing, pulled off her shoe, and, 
more successful this time, hit her square on the head. 
Hers seems, however, to have been a case of mere 
delusion, amounting to temporary insanity. That it 
was not deliberate and cold-blooded imposture is ren- 
dered probable by the fact, that she was rescued from 
the hallucination, and, with her husband, among the 
foremost to deplore and denounce the whole affair. 
But, when a woman of her position acted in this man- 
ner, on such an occasion, and then went into convul- 
sions, and the whole company of afflicted persons 
joined in, the confusion, tumult, and frightfulness of 

VOL. II. 6 

^ i\ 

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I? !'■ I 

1^ • 


,1 , 












the scene can hardly be jmagiiied, certainly it cannot 
be described in words. 

Quiet being restored, Ilathorne proceeded : " Tell 
lis, have you not had visible aj)pearances, more than 
what is common in nature?'' — "I have none, nor 
never had in my life." — "Do you think these suffer 
voluntary or involuntary ? " — "I caniiot tell." — " That 
is strange : every one can judge." — "I must be si- 
lent." — ' i'hey accuse you of hurting them; and, if 
you think it is not unwillingly, but by design, you 
must look upon them as murderers." — " I cannot tell 
what to think of it." This answer was considered as 
very aspersive in its bearing u])on the witnesses, and 
she was charged with having called them murderers. 
Being hard of hearing, she did not always lake in the 
whole import of questions put to her. Sh> denied 
that she said she thought them nuirderers ; all she 
said, and that she stood to to the last, wa^> that 
she could not tell what to make of their conduct. 
Finally, Hathorne put this question, and called for an 
answer, " Do you think these suffer against their wills 
or not ? " She answered, " I do not think these suffer 
against their wills." To this point she was not afraid 
or unwilling to go, in giving an opinion of the con- 
duct of the accusing girls. Infirm, half deaf, cross- 
questioned, circumvented, surrounded with folly, up- 
roar, and outrage, as she was, they could not intimidate 
her to say less, or entrap her to say more. 

Then another line of criminating questions was 
started by the magistrate : " Why did you never visit 



these alTlictcd persons?" — " Uccausc I Avas afraid i 
should have fits too." On cveiy motion of licr body, 
" fits followed upon tlie conii)lainants, abundantly and 
very frequently." As soon as order was again re- 
stored, Hathorne, being, as he always was, wholly eon- 
vineed of the reality of the sulTerings of the " afflicted 
children," addressed her thus, "Is it not an unac- 
countable case, that, whon you are examined, these 
persons are alllicted ? " Seeing that he and tlie whole 
assembly put faith in the accusers, her only reply was, 
" I have got nobody to look to but God." As she 
uttered these words, she naturally attempted to raise 
her hands, whereupon " the afflicted persons were 
seized with violent fits of torture." After silence was 
again restored, the magistrate pressed his questions 
still closer. " Do you believe these afflicted persons 
are bewitched ? " She answered, " I do think they 
are." It will be noticed that there was this difference 
between Rebecca Nurse and Martha Corey : The latter 
was an utter heretic on the point of the popular faith 
respecting witchcraft ; she did not believe that there 
were any witches, and she looked upon the declara- 
tions and actions of the " afflicted children " as the 
ravings of " distracted persons." The former seems to 
have held the opinions of the day, and had no disbe- 
lief in witchcraft : she was willing to admit that the 
children were bewitched ; but she knew her own inno- 
cence, and nothing could move her from the conscious- 
ness of it. Mr. Hathorne continued, " When this 
witchcraft came apon the stage, there was no suspicion 


11 1 ''I 



of Tituba, Mr. Parris's Indian woman. She professed 
mucli love to that cliild, — Betty Parris ; but it was her 
apparition did tlie mischief: and why shoukl not you 
also be guilty, for your apparition doth hurt also ? " 
Her answer was, " Would you have me belie myself? " 
Weary, probably, of the protracted proceedings, her 
head drooped on one side ; and forthwith the necks of 
the afllicted children were bent in the same way. This 
new demonstration of the diabolical power that pro- 
ceeded from her filled the house with increased awe, 
and S})read horrible conviction of her guilt through all 
minds. Elizabeth Hubbard's neck was fixed in that 
direction, and could not be moved. Abigail Williams 
cried out, " Set up Goody Nurse's head, the maid's 
neck will be broke." Whereupon, some persons held 
the prisoner's head up, and " Aaron Way observed that 
Betty Hubbard's was immediately righted." To con- 
summate the effect of the whole proceeding, Mr. Par- 
ris, by direction of the magistrates, " read what he 
had in characters taken from Mr. Thomas Putnam's 
wife in her fits." We shall come to the matter thus 
introduced by Mr. Parris, at a future stage of the story. 
It is sufficient here to say, that it contained tlie most 
posiiive and minute declarations that the apparition of 
Rebecca Nurse had appeared to her, on several occa- 
sions, and horribly tortured her. After hearing Parris's 
statement, Hathorne asked the prisoner, " What do you 
think of this ? " Her reply was, " I cannot help it : 
the Devil may appear in my shape." It may be men- 
tioned, that Mrs. Ann Putnam was present during this 



examination, and, in tlic course of it, went into the 
most dreadful bodily agony, charging it on Rebecca 
Nurse. Her sufferings were so violent, and held on so 
long, tliat the magistrates gave permission to her hus- 
band to carry her out of the mcctinj^-house, to free her 
from the malignant presence of the prisoner. The 
record of the examination closes thus: — 

" Salem Village, March 24tli, 1G9^. — The Reverend Mr. 
Samuel Parris, being desired to take in writing the examina- 
tion of Rebecca Niirise, hath returned it as afoi'csaid. 

" Upon hearing the aforesaid, and seeing what we then did 
see, together with tlie charges of the persons then present, 
we committed Rebecca Nurse, the wife of Francis Nurse 
of Salem Village, unto Iler Majesty's jail in Salem, as per 
mitlimits then given out, in order to further examination. 

The presence of Ann Putnam, the mother, on this 
occasion ; the statement from her, read l)y Mr. Parris ; 
and the terrible sufferings she exhibited, produced, no 
doubt, a deep etfect upon the magistrates and all 
present. Iler social position and personal appearance 
undoubtedly contributed to heighten it. For two 
months, her house had been the constant scene of the 
extraordinary actings of the circle of girls of which her 
daughter and maid-servant were the leading spirits. 




Her mind had boon absorbed in tlie mysteries of 
spiritualism. Tiie marv(;ls of nceromancy and magic 
had been ke[)t ])eri)otiially before it. Slie had been 
livinj^ in the invisil)lc world, with a constant sense 
of supernatuialism surrounding her. Unconsciously, 
perhaps, i"; jjassionu, prejudices, irritations, and ani- 
mosities, t , . iL ■ ^he had been subject, became mixed 
with the vag .lies u"" u excited imagination ; and, laid 
open to the inroads of delusion as her mind had long 
been by pcrj)etual tamporings with spiritual ideas and 
phantoms, she may have lost the balance of reason and 
sanity. This, added to a morbid sensibility, probably* 
gave a deep intensity to her voice, action, and counte- 
nance. The effect upon tlio excited multitude must 
have been very great. Although she lived to realize 
the utter falseness of all her statements, her monstrous 
fictions were felt by her, at the time, to be a reality. 

In concluding his report of this examination, Mr. 
Parris says, " By reason of great noises by the 
afflicted and many speakers, many things are preter- 
mitted." He was probal)ly quite willing to avoid 
telling the whole story of the disgraceful and shock- 
ing scenes enacted in the meeting-house that day. 
Deodat Lawson was present during tiie earlier part of 
the proceedings. Ho says that Mr. Hale began with 
prayer ; that the prisoner " pleaded her innocency 
with earnestness ; " that, at the opening, some of the 
girls, Mary Walcot among them, declared that the pris- 
oner had never hurt them. Presently, however, Mary 
Walcot screamed out that she was bitten, and charged 

i ;- 



it upon Rebecca Nurse. The marks of teetli wero 
produced on lier wrist, fjawscjii says, " It was so dis- 
posed that 1 liad not leisure to attend tlic wliole tinio 
of examination." The meaning is, I suppose, that ho 
desired to witlidra\v into tlio neig]il)oring fields to cou 
over his manuscript, and make himself more al)le to 
perform with effect the part he was to act that after- 
noon. " There was once," he says, " such {••> hideous 
screech and noise (which I heard as I walke. at littlo 
distance from the meeting-house) as did ma::Li me ; 
and some that were within told me the whole assem- 
bly was struck with consternation, and they '.,cre afraid 
that those that sat next to thein were nder the in- 
fluence of witchcraft," The whole congregation was in 
an uproar, every one afflicted by and affi-ighting every 
other, amid a universal outcry of terror and horror. 

As it was a part of- the })olicy of the maiuigers of 
the business to utterly overwhelm the influence of all 
natural sentiment in the community, they coupled 
with this proceeding against a venerable and infirm 
great-grandmother, another of the same kind against 
a little child. Immediately after the examination of 
Rebecca Nurse was concluded, Dorcas, a daughter of 
Sarah Good, was brought before the magistrates. She 
was between four and live years old. Lawson says, 
" Tiie child looked hale and well as other children." 
A. warrant had been issued for her a))i)rehenKion, tho 
c%y before, on complaint of Edward and Jonathan 
Putnam. Herrick the marshal, who was a man that 
magnified his office, and of much personal pride, did 




h I 

not, porluips, fancy the i(l(3a of bringing up siicli a 
littlo prisoner ; antl lie (l(!putizcd tlio operation to 
Sanin(!l Brayhrook, who, the next morning, made re- 
turn, in due form, tliat " he liad taken tlic body of 
Dorcas Good," and sent her to the liousc of Nathaniel 
Ingersoll, where slie was in custody. It seems that 
Bruybrook did not like the job, and passed the hand- 
ling of the child over to still another. Whoever per- 
formed the service j)robably brought her in his arms, 
or on a ])illion. The little thing could not have 
walked the distance from Benjamin Tatnam's farm. 
When led in to be examined, Ann Putnam, JNIary Wal- 
cot, and Mercy Lewis, all charged her with biting, 
pinching, and almost choking them. The two former 
went through their usual evolutions in the presence of 
the awe and terror stricken magistrates and multitude. 
Tiiey showed the marks of her little teeth on their 
arms ; and the pins with which she pricked them were 
found on their bodies, precisely where, in their shrieks, 
they had averred that she was piercing them. The 
evidence was considered overwhelming ; and Dorcas 
was, per inittiitms, committed to the jail, where she 
joined her mother. By the bill of the Boston jailer, 
it appears that they both were confined there : as they 
were too poor to provide for themselves, " the country " 
was charu'cd with ten shillings for " two blankets for 
Sarah Good's child." The mother, we know, was 
kept in chains ; the child was probably chained too. 
Extraordinary fastenings, as has been stated, were 
thought necessary to hold a witch. 





I I 




Tliorn was no lonjior any douht, in the mass of tlic 
coinimiiiity, tliat the I)(!vil had ollcctcd a lod^cinent at 
Saloiu A''illa_ii;c. Cliurcli-ineml)ors, persons of all social 
j)Ositions, of (lu! hijihest roi)Uto and profession of piety, 
eminent for visilde nianifestations of devotion, and 
of every aue, had joineil his standard, and become 
his active allies and confederates. 

The elTect of these two examinations was nnqnes- 
tionahly very ^reat in spreadinj^ consternation and 
bewilderment far and wide ; bnt they were only the 
prelude to the work, to that end, arran<^ed for the day. 
The public mind was worked to red heat, and now was 
the moment to strike the blow that would fix an im- 
pression deep and iri-emovalde upon it. It was Thurs- 
day, Lecture-day ; and the public services usual on the 
occasion were to be held at the meeting-house. 

Dcodat Lawson had arrived at the village on the 
19th of ^larch, and lodged at Deacon IngersoU's. The 
fact at once became known ; and ^lary Walcot imme- 
diately went to the deacon's to see him. She had a fit 
on the spot, which filled Lawson with amazement and 
horror. His turn of mind led him to be interested in 
such an excitement ; and he had become additionally 
and specially exercised by learning that the afflicted 
persons had intimated that the deaths of his wife and 
daughter, which occurred during his ministry at the 
village, had been brought about by the diabolical 
agency of the persons then beginning to be unmasked, 
and brought to justice. He was prepared to listen to 
the hints thus throw^n out, and was ready to push 




the |U'()s(M!iiti()iis Oil with an cirncstncss in wliicli 
resoiitinont and ra<^o woi-o iniiii^lod with the hlindost 
credulity. Al'ttn* Mary Waleot had given him a Kpeei- 
men of what tiie girls were snlTering, he walked over, 
early in tiu; ev(!nin<r, to Mr. l*arris's house ; and there 
Abigail Williams went into the craziest manifestations, 
throwing (irehrands about the house in the presence 
of h(!r uncle, rushing to the back of the chimney as 
though she would fly up through its wide (hie, and per- 
forming many wonderful works. Tiie next day being 
Sunday, he preached ; and the services were inter- 
rupted, ill the manner already described, by the out- 
breaks of the afdicted, under dialudic influence. The 
next day, he attended the examination of Martha 
Curoy. On Wednesday, the 20d, he went up to 
Thomas Putnam's, as he says, " on ])urp()se to see his 
wife," lie " found her lying on the bed, having had a 
sore fit a little before : her husband and she both 
desired mu to ])ray with her while she was sensible, 
which 1 did, though the ai)j)arition said 1 should not go 
to prayer. At the first beginning, she attended ; but, 
after a little time, was taken with a fit, yet continued 
silent, and seemed to be asleep." She had represented 
herself as being in conflict with the shape, or si)cctre, 
of a witch, which, she told Lawson, said he should not 
pray on the occasion. But he courageously ventured 
on the work. At the col^clusion of the prayer, " her 
husband, going to her, found her in a fit. He took her 
off the bed to sit her on his knees ; but at first she 
was so stiff she could not be bended, but she after- 



wards sat down." TIkmi hIio W(Mit into Hint stato of 
HUj)LMiiatural vision and exaltation in wliit-li slio was 
accustomed to utter tlio wildest strains, in fervid, ex- 
trava<jjant, l)ut solemn and nudantdioly, ilinpsodies : slic 
disputed with the spectre about a text of Scripture, 
and then poured forth the most terril)lo denuneiiitions 
ui)on it for tornuMitinfi; and tempi in<>' Ikm*. She was 
evidently a very intellectual and imaginative woman, 
and was perfe(;tly versed in all the imajrery and lofty 
diction supplied hy i\u) [)rophetic and |)oetic ])arts of 
Scrij)ture. Again she was seizeil with a terrihle fit, 
that lasted " near half an hour." At times, her mouth 
was drawn on one side and her body strained. At 
last she broke forth, and succeeded, after many violent 
struggles against the spectre and many convulsions of 
her frame, in saying what part of the J5ible Lawson 
was to read aloud, in order to relievo her. " It is," 
she said, " the third chapter of the Revelation." — " I 
did," says Lawson, " something scruple the reading 
it." He was loath to 1)e engaged in an affair of that 
kind in which the Devil was an actor. At length he 
overcame his scruples, and the etVect was decisive. 
" Before I had near read through the first verse, she 
openr'd her eyes, and was Avell." Bewildered and 
amazt 1, he went back to Parris's house, and they 
talked over the awful manifestations of Satan's ])ower. 
The next morning, he attended the examination of 
Rebecca Nurse, retiring from it, at an early honr, 
to complete his preparation for the service that had 
been arranged for him that afternoon. 





I say arranged, because the facts in this case prove 
long-concerted arrangement. He was to preach a 
sermon that day. Word must have been sent to him 
weelis before. After reaching the viUage, every liour 
had l)'!en c-cciMiied in exciting spectachis and engross- 
ing experiences, filling his mind with the fanatical en- 
thusiasm requisite to give force and fire to the delivery 
of the discourse. He could not possibly have written 
it after coming to the place, lie must have brought 
it in his pocket. It is a thoroughly elaborated and 
carefully constructed performance, requiring long and 
patient application to compose it, and exhausting all 
the resources of theological research and reference, 
and of artistic sivill and finish. It is adajjted to the 
details of an occasion which was prepared to meet 
it. Not only the sermon but the audience were the 
result of arrangement carefully made in the stages of 
preparation and in the elements comprised in it. 
The preceding steps had all been seasonably and 
appositely taken, so that, when the regular lecture 
afternoon came, Lawson would his voluminous 
discourse ready, and a congregation be in waiting to 
hear it, with minds suitably wrought upon )»y the 
preceding incidents of the day, to be thoroughly and 
permanently imi)ressed by it. The occasion had been 
heralded by a train of circumstances drawing every- 
body to the spot. The magistrates were already there, 
some of them by virtue of the necessity of official 
presence in the earlier part of the day, and otlicrs came 
in from the neighljorhood ; the ministers gathered from 





the towns in tlic vicinity ; men and women came from 
all quarters, flocking along the highways and the by- 
ways, large numbers on horseback, and crowds on 
foot. Probably the village meeting-house, and the 
grounds around it, presented a spectacle such as never 
was exhibited elsewhere. Awe, dread, earnestness, a 
stern but wild fanaticism, were stann)ed on all coun- 
tenances, and stirred the heaving multitude to its 
depths, and in all its movements and utterances. It 
is imj)ossiblc to imagine a combination of circum- 
stances that could give greater advantage and power 
to a speaker, and Lawson was equal to the situation. 
No discourse was ever more equal, or better adapted, 
to its occasion. It was irresistible in its power, and 
carried the public mind as by storm. 

The text is Zcchariah, iii. 2 : " And the Lord said 
unto Satan, Tlie Lord rebuke thee, 8atan I even the 
Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee : is not 
this a brand plucked out of the fire ? " After an 
allusion to the rebellion of Satan, and his fall from 
heaven with his " accursed legions," and after repre- 
senting them as filled '' witii envy and malice against 
all mankind," seeking " by all ways and means to 
work their ruin and destruction for ever, o})posing 
to the utmost all persons and things a{)pointcd by the 
Lord Jesus Christ as means or instruments of their 
comfort here or salvation hereafter," he proceeds, in 
the manner of those days, to open his text and sjji-ead 
out his subject, all along exhibiting great ability, skill, 
and power, showing learning in his illustrations, draw- 



ing a])tly and abiindautly from the Scriptures, and, 
at the riglit poiiits, rishig to liigh stranis of elo(iiience 
in diction and imagery. 

lie describes, at great length and with abundant 
instances ingeniously selected from sacred and pro- 
fane literature, the marvellous power with which Satan 
is enabled to operate upon mankind. He says, — 

" He is a spirit, and heucc strikes at the sj)iritiud part, 
the most excellent (constituent) part of man. Primarily 
disturbing and interrupting the animal and vital spirits, he 
maliciously operates upon the more common powers of the 
soul by strange and frightful representations to the fancy 
or imagination ; and, by violent tortures of the body, often 
threatening to extinguish life, as hath been observed in 
those that are afilictcd amongst us. And not only so, 
but he vents his malice in diabolical operations on the more 
sublime and distinguishing faculties of the rational soul, 
raising mists of darkness and ignorance in the understand- 
ing. . . . Sometimes he brings distress upon the bodies of 
men, by malignant o[)erations in, and diabolical impressions 
on, the spirituous principle or vehicle of life and motion. . . . 
There are certainly some lower operations of Satan (where- 
of there are sundry examples among us), which the bodies 
and souls of men and women are liable unto. And who- 
soever hath carefully observed those things nuist needs be 
convinced, that the motions of the persons afilicted, both as 
to the manner and as to the violence of them, are the mere 
effects of diabolical malice and operations, and that it can- 
not rationally be imagined to proceed from any other cause 
whatever. . . . Satan exerts his malice mediately by employ- 
ing some of mankind and other creatures, lud he frequently 




usctli other persons or thiiijrs, that Ijis (lesln;iis niiiy be tlie 
more mulisceruible. Thus he used the serpent in the first 
temptation (Gen. iii. 1). Hence he contracts and indents 
•with witches and wizards, thjit they shall be the instruments 
by whom he may more secretly affect and afllict the bodies 
and minds of others ; and, if he can prevail upon those that 
make a visible profession, it may be the better covert unto 
his diabolical enterprise, and may the more readily pervert 
others to consenliniir unto his subjection. So far as we can 
look into those hellish mysteries, and guess at the adminis- 
tration of that kin^xflom of darkness, we nuiy learn that 
witches make witches by persuading one the other to sub- 
scribe to a book or articles, &c. ; and the Devil, having them 
in his subjection, by their consent, he will use their bodies 
and minds, shapes and representations, to affright an<l aiilict 
others at his pleasure, lor the propagation of his infernal 
kingdom, and accomplishing his devised mischiei's to the 
souls, bodies, and lives of the children of men, yea, and 
of the children of God too, so far as permitted and is 
possible. . . . He insinuates into the society of the adopted 
children of God, in their most solemn approaches to him, 
in sacred ordinances, endeavoring to look so like the true 
saints and ministers of Christ, that, if it were possible, he 
would deceive the very elect (Matt. xxiv. 24) by his sub- 
tilty : for it is certain he never works more like the Prince 
of darkness than when he looks most like an angel of light ; 
and, when he most pretends to holiness, he then doth most 
secretly, and by consequence most surely, undermine it, and 
those that most excel in the exercise thereof. " 

The following is a specimen of the style in which 
he stirred up the people : — 



" The iipplication of this doctrino to ourselves rcmaius 
now to 1)0 iiitendi'd. Let it be for solemn warniiii^ and 
awakening to sill of us that are before the Lord at this time, 
and to all others of this whole people, who sludl come to 
the knowledge of these direful operations of Satan, which 
the holy God hath permitted in the midst of us. 

"The Lord doth terrible things amongst us, by lengthen- 
ing the chain of the roaring lion in ar extraordinary man- 
ner, so that the Devil is come down in great wi-ath (Ke\ . 
xii. 12), endeavoring to set up his kingdom, and, by racking 
torments on the bodies, and airrightening representations 
to the minds of many amongst us, to force and fright thciii 
to become his subjects. I may well say, then, in the Avord.-.< of 
the prophet (Mic. vi. 0), '• The Lord's voice crieth to the city,' 
and to the country also, with an unusual and amazing loud- 
ness. Surely, it warns ns to awaken out of all sleep, of 
security or stupidity, to ai'ise, and take our Bibles, turn io, 
and learn that lesson, not by i-ote only, but by heart. 1 iVt. 
V. 8 : ' Be sober, be vigilant ; because your adversary the 
Devil goes about its a roaring li ;,. seeking whom amongst 
you he may distress, delude, and ' ur.' . . . Awake, awake 
ihen, I beseech you, and remain no longer under the domin- 
ion of that prince of cruelty and nnilice, whose tyrannical 
fury we see thus exerted agaiii.-t the bodies and minds of 
these afilicted persons ! . . . This warning is directed to all 
manner of persons, accordiug to their condition of life, both 
in civil and sacred order ; both high and low, rich and poor, 
old and young, bond and free. Oh, let the observation of 
these amazing dispensations of God's unusual and strange 
Providence quicken us to our duty, at such a time as this, 
in our respective places and stations, relations and capacities ! 
The great God I.'iUh done such things amongst us as do 

I I 

^ttwf^:-'*'-*^" '.'■. 



make the ears of those that hear them to tingle (Jer. xix. 3) ; 
and serious souls are at a loss to what these things may 
grow, and wliat we shall find to be the end of this droadi'ul 
visitation, in the permission wh ;reof the provoked God as 
a lion hath roared, who can but fear? tlie Lord hath 
spoken, who can but prophesy? (Amos iii. 8.) The loud 
trumpet of God, in this tliundering providenrc, is blown in 
the eity, and the echo of it heard through the country, surely 
then the people must and ought to be afraid (Amos iii. 0). 
. . . You are therefore to be deeply humbled, and sit in the 
dust, considering the signal hand of God in singling out 
this place, this poor viUage, for the first seat of Satan's 
tyranny, and to make it (as 'twere) the rendezvous of devils, 
where they muster their infernal forces; appearing to the 
afflicted as coming armed to carry on their malicious de- 
signs against the bodies, and, if God in mercy prevent not, 
against the souls, of many in this place. . . . Be humbled 
also that so many members of this church of the Lord Jesus 
Christ should be imder the influences of Satan's malice in 
these his operations; some as the objects of his tyranny 
on their bodies to that degree of distress which none can 
be sensible of but those tliat see and feel it, who are in the 
mean time also sorely distressed in their minds by frightful 
representations made by the devils unto them. Other pro- 
fessors and visible membei-s of this church are under tiie 
awful accusations and imputations of being the instruments 
of Satan in his mischie\ous actings. It cannot but be 
matter of deep humiliation, to such as are innocent, that 
the righteous and holy God should permit them to be named 
in such pernicious and unheard-of practices, and not only 
80, but tliat lie who cannot but do right slioubl suffer the 
stain of suspected guilt to be, as it were, rubbed on and 






'■1 ; 



soaked in by many sore and amazing circumstances. And 
it is a matter of soul-abasement to all that arc in the bond 
of God's holy covenant in this place, that Satan's seat should 
be amongst them, where he attempts to set up his kingdom 
in o))position to Christ's kingdom, and to take some of the 
visilde subjects of our Lord Jesus, and use at least their 
shapes and appearances, instrumentally, to afllict and torture 
other visible subjects of the same kingdom. Surely his de- 
sign is that Christ's kingdom may be divided against itself, 
that, being thereby weakened, he may the better take oj)por- 
tunity to set up his own accursed powers and dominions. 
It calls aloud then to all in this place in the name of the 
blessed Jesus, and words of his holy apostle (1 Peter v. (>), 
' Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.' 

" It is matter of terror, amazement, and astonishment, 
to all such wretched souls (if tliei be any here in the con- 
gregation ; and God, of his infinite mercy, gi-ant that none of 
you may ever be found such ! ) as have given up their names 
and souls to the Devil ; who by covenant, explicit or im- 
plicit, have bound themselves to be his slaves and drudges, 
consenting to be instruments in whose shapes he may tor- 
ment and afflict their fellow-creatures (even of their own 
kind) to the amazing and astonishing of the standers-by. 
1 wouk- hope I might have spared this use, but I desire 
(by divine assi?*:ance) to declare the whole counsel of God ; 
and if ft copt not as conviction where it is so, it may serve 
for V, aruitig ti:; t it may never bo so. For it is a most 
dreadful tiiiug lo consider that any should change the ser- 
vice of God for the service of the Devil, the worship of the 
blessed God for the worship of the cursed enemy of God and 
man. But, oh ! (which is yet a thousand times worse) how 
shall 1 name it ? if any that are in the visible covenant of 






God slioulcl break llint covenant, and make a league with 
Satan ; if any that have sat down and eat at Christ's Table, 
should so lift up (heir heel against him as to have fellow- 
ship iit the table of devils, and (as it hath been represented 
to some of the afflicted) eat of the bread and drink of tiic 
wine that Satan hath mingled. Surely, if this be so, the 
poet is in the right, " Audax omnia perpeti. Gens humana 
ruit per vetitum netus : " audacious mortals are grown to a 
fearful height of impiety ; and we must cry out in Scripture 
language, and that omphatical apostrophe of the Prophet 
Jeremy (chap. ii. 12), 'Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, 
and be horribly afraid : be ye very desolate, saith the Lord.' 
... If you are in covenant, with the Devil, the intercession 
of the blessed Jesus is against you. His prayer is for the 
subduing of Satan'?" power and kingdom, and the utter con- 
founding of all hii jStruments. If it be so, then the great 
God is set against you. The omnipotent Jehovah, one God 
in three Persons ; Fatlier, Son, and Holy Ghost, in their 
several distinct operations and all their divine attributes, — 
are engaged against you. Therefore know yi-: that are 
guilty of such monstrous iniquity, that He that made you will 
not save you, and that He that formed you Avill show you no 
favor (Isa. xxvii. 11). Be assured, that, although you 
should now evade the condemnation of man's judgment, and 
escape a violent death by the hand of justice ; yet unless 
God shall give you repentance (which we l)eartily pray for), 
there is a dav coming when the secrets of all hearts shall be 
revealed by Jesus Christ (Kom. ii. IG). Then, then, your sin 
will find you out ; and you shall be punished with everlast- 
ing destruction from the presence of the Lord, and doomed 
to those endless, easeless, and remediless torments prepared 
for the Devil and his angels (Matt. xxv. 41). . , . If you 








have been guilty of sucli impiety, the prayers of the people 
of God arc a^j^aiiist you ou that account. It is their duty to 
pniy daily, that Satau's kingdom may be suj)pre.ssed, weak- 
ened, brought down, and at last totally destroyed ; hence that 
all abettors, subjcK'ts, defenders, and promoters thereof, may 
be utterly crushed and confounded. They are constrained 
to suppress that kindness and compassion that in their 
sacred addresses they once bare unto you (as those of their 
own kind, and framed out of the same mould), praying with 
one consent, as the royal prophet did against his malicious 
enemies, the instruments of Satan (Ps. cix. 6), ' Set thou 
a wicked man over him, and let Satan stand at his right 
hand ' (i.e.), to withstand all that is for his good, and promote 
all that is for his hurt ; and (verse 7) ' When he is judged, 
let him be condemned, and let iiis prayer become sin.' 

" Be Ave exhorted and directed to exercise true spiritual 
sympathy with, and compassion towards, those poor, afflicted 
persons that are by divine permission under tlie direful in- 
fluci.ce of Satau's malice. There is a divine precept enjoin- 
ing die practice of such duty : Ileb. xiii. 3, ' Kemember 
them that sutFer adversity, as being yourselves j' .so in the 
body.' Let us, then, be deeply sensible, and, as the elect of 
God, put on bowels of mercy towards those in misery 
(Col. iii. 12). Oh, pity, jtity tliem ! for the hand of the 
Lord hath touched them, and the malice of devils hath 
fallen upon them. 

" Let us be sure to take unto us and put on the whole 
armor of God, and every piece of it ; let none be wanting. 
Let us labor to be in the exercise and practice of the whole 
company of sanctifying graces and religious duties. This 
important duty is pressed, and the particular pieces of that 
armor recited Eph. vi. 11 and 13 to 18. Satan is ropre- 







seuting his inftTiuil forces; and the devils seem to eoiiie 
tinned, mustering iimoiigst us. I am this day commiiiided 
to call and cry an alarm unto you : Au>i, aum, aum I handle 
your arms, see that yon are lixed and in a readiness, as 
I'aithfid sohlier.. under the Capt'iiu of our salvation, that, by 
the shield of faith, ye and we all may resist the iiery darts 
of the wicked ; and may be faithful unto death in our 
spiritual warfare; so shall we assuredly receive the crown of 
life (Rev. ii. 10). Let us admit no parley, give no (jiiar- 
ter : let none of Satan's forces or furies be more \ igilant 
to hurt us than we are to resist and repress them, in the 
name, and by the S{)irit, grace, and strength of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. Let us ply the throne of grace, ia the name 
and merit of our Blessed Mediator, taking all possible 
opportunities, public, private, and secret, to pour out our 
supplications to the God of our salvation. Prayer is the 
most proper and potent antidote against the old Serpent's 
venomous operations. "When legions of devils do come 
down among us, multitudes of prayers should go up to God. 
Satan, the worst of all our enemies, is called in Scripture a 
dragon, to note his malice; a serpent, to note his subtiUy ; 
a lion, to note his strength. But none of all these can stand 
before prayer. The most inveterate malice (as that of 
Haman) sinks under the prayer o.' Esther (chap. iv. IG). 
The deepest policy (the counsel of Achitopliid) withers 
before the prayer of David (2 Sam. xv. 31) ; and the 
vastest army (an host of a thousand thousand Ethiopians) 
ran away, like so many cowards, before the prayer of Asa 
(2 Chron. xiv. 9 to 15). 

" What theretbre I say unto one I say unto all, in this 
important case, Puay, pray, phay. 

" To our honored magistrates, here present this day, to 




iiKiuiro into tlicsc tliinj^s, give mo loave, nnicli honored, to 
lAYvv one word to your consideration. Do all tluit in you 
lies to check and rebuke Satan ; endeavoring, by all ways 
and nieiins that are according to the rule of (Jod, to dis- 
cover his instruments in these horrid operations. You arc 
concerned in the civil governinent of this j)eoj)le, being in- 
vested with power by their Sacred Majesties, under this 
glorious Jesus (the King aiul Governor of Jiis chiu'ch), for 
the sujjporting of Christ's kingdom against all o[)posilions 
of Satan's kingdom and his instruments, lieing ordained 
of God to such a station (Uom. xiii. 1), we entreat you, 
bear not the sword in vain, as vei'. 4 ; but approve your- 
selves a terror of and punishment to evil-doers, and a praise 
to them that do well (1 Peter ii. 14); ever remember- 
ing that ye judge not for men, but for the Lord (*2 Chron. 
xix. 0) ; and, as his promise is, so our prayer shall be for 
you, without ceasing, that he would be with you in the judg- 
ment, as he that can and will direct, assist, and reward you. 
Follow the example of the upright Job (chap. xxix. IG) : Be 
a father to the poor ; to these -poor afflicted persons, in piti- 
ful and painful endeavors to help them ; and the cause tiuit 
seems to be so dark, as you know uot how to determine it, 
do your utmost, in the use of all regular means, to search it 

" There is comfort in considering that the Lord Jesus, the 
Captain of our salvation, hath already overcome the Devil. 
Christ, that blessed seed of the woman, hath given this cursed 
old serpent called the Devil and Satan a mortal and incura- 
ble bruise on the head (Gen. iii. 15). lie was too much 
for him in a single conflict (Matt. iv.). He opposed his power 
and kingdom in the possessed. He suffered not the devils 
to speak, because they knew him (iNIark i. 34). He com- 





pli'tc'd his victory by his dciith on the cross, and (k'stroyi'(l his 
dominion (Ileb. ii. 14), that through dejith he niij,dit destroy 
dt'iith, and him that had the powers of death, that is tlie 
Devil ; and by and after liis resurrection nuKh; show openly 
unto the worhi, tiiat he had spf»iled principalities and jjowers, 
triumphinjj; over them (Col. ii. lo). Hence, if we are by 
faith united to him, his victory is an earnest and prelibation 
of our conquest at last. All Satan's strugglings now are 
but those of a conquered enemy. It Is no small comfort to 
consider, that Job's exercise of patience had its be<finning 
from the Devil ; but we have seen the end to be from the 
Lord (James v. 11). That we also may find by experience 
the same blessed issue of our present distresses by Satan's 
malice, let us repent of every sin that hath been committed, 
and labor to practise every duty which hath been neglected. 
Then we shall assuredly and speedily find that the kingly 
power of our Lord and Saviour shall be magnified, in deliv- 
ering his poor sheep and lambs out of the jaws and paws of 
the roaring lion." 

These extended extracts are given from Larson's 
discourse, partly to enable every one to estimate the 
effect it must have produced, under the circumstances 
of the occasion, but mainly because they present a 
living picture of the sentiments, notions, modes of 
thinking and reasoning, and convictions, tlien preva- 
lent. No description given by a person looking buck 
from our point of view, not having cx))eriunced the 
delusions of that age, no matter who might attempt 
the task, could adequately paint the scene. The 
foregoing extracts sliow better, I think, tlian any docu- 
ments that have come down to us, how the subject lay 

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ill the minds of men at that time. They bring before 
us directly, without the intervention of any secondary 
agency, the thoughts, associations, sentiments, of that 
generation, in breathing rcahty. Tliey carry us back 
to the hour and to the spot. Deodat Lawson rises from 
his unknown grave, comes forth from tlie impenetrable 
clond which enveloped the closing scenes of his mortal 
career, and we listen to his voice, as it spoke to the 
mnltitudes that gathered in and around the meeting- 
house in Salem Village, on Lecture-day, March 24, 
1092. He lays bare his whole mind to our immediate 
inspection. In and through him, we behold the mind 
and heart, the forms of language and thought, the feel- 
ings and passions, of tlie people of that day. We min- 
gle with the crowd that hang upon his lips ; we behold 
their countenances, discern the passions that glowed 
upon their features, and enter into tlie excitement that 
moved and tossed them like a tempest. We are thus 
prepared, as we could be in no other way, to compre- 
hend our story. 

The sermon answered its end. It re-enforced the 
powers that had begun their work. It spread out 
the whole doctrine of witchcraft in a methodical, elabo- 
raio, and most impressive form. It justified and com- 
mended every thing that had been done, and every 
thing that remained to be done ; every step in the pro- 
ceedings ; every process in the examinations; every kind 
of accusation and evidence that had been adduced ; 
every phase of the popular belief, however wild and 
monstrous ; every pretension of the afflicted children 



to preternatural experiences and communications, and 
every tale of apparitions of departed spirits and the 
gliosis of murdered men, women, and children, which, 
engendered in morbid and maniac imaginations, had 
been employed to fill him and otliers with horror, in- 
spire revenge, and drive on tlie general delirium. And 
it fortified every point by the law and tlie testimony, by 
passages and scraps of Scripture, studiously and skil- 
fully culled out, and ingeniously ajiplicd. It gave 
form to what liad been vague, and authority to what 
had floated in blind and baseless dreams of fancy. It 
crystallized the disordered vagaries, that had been 
seething in turbulent confusion in the public mind, 
into a fixed, organized, and permanent shape. 

Its publication was forthwith called for. The manu- 
script was submitted to Increase and Cotton Mather of 
the North, James Allen and John Bailey of the First, 
Samuel Willard of the Old South, churches in Boston, 
and Ciiarles Morton of the church in Ciiarlestown. 
It was printed with a strong, unqualified indorsement 
of approval, signed by the names severally of these the 
most eminent divines of the country. The discourse 
was dedicated to the " worshipful and worthily honored 
Bartholomew Gedney, John Hathorne, Jonathan Cor- 
win, Esqrs., together with the reverend Mr. John Hig- 
ginson, pastor, and Mr. Nicholas Noyes, teacher, of the 
Church of Christ at Salem," with a preface, addressed 
to all his " Christian friends and acquaintance, the 
inhabitants of Salem Village." It was republished in 
London in 1704, under the immediate direction of its 

U: . 

■ i 



i '1 

! * 





aiitlior. The subject is described as " Christ's Fidel- 
ity, the only Shield against Satan's Malignity ; " and 
the titlepagc is enforced by passages of Scripture (Rev. 
xii. 12, and Rom. xvi. 20). The interest of the vol- 
ume is highly increased by an appendix, giving the 
substance of notes taken by Lawson on the s])ot, dur- 
ing the examinations and trials. They are invaluable, 
as proceeding from a chief actor in the scenes, who was 
wholly carried away by the delusion. They describe, 
in marvellous colors, the wonderful manifestations of 
diabolical agency in, upon, and through the afflicted 
children ; resembling, in many respects, reports of 
spiritual communications prevalent in our day, al- 
though not quite coming up to them. These state- 
ments, and the preface to the discourse, are given 
in the Appendix to this volume. In a much briefer 
form, it was printed by Benjamin Harris, at Boston, 
in 1692 ; and soon after by John Dunton, in Lon- 

Before dismissing Mr. Lawson's famous sermon, our 
attention is demanded to a remarkable paragraph in it. 
His strong faculties could not be wholly bereft of rea- 
son ; and he had eonse enough left to see, what does 
not appear to have occurred to others, that there might 
be a re-action in the popular passions, and that some 
might be called to account by an indignant public, if 
not before a stern tribunal of justice, for the course of 
cruelty and outrage they were pursuing, with so high 
a hand, against accused persons. He was not entirely 
satisfied that the appeal he made in his discourse to 



the people to suppress and crush out all vestiji;cs of 
luunaii feeling, and to stifle compassion and pity in 
their breasts, would j)rcvail. He foresaw that the 
friends and families of innocent and murdered victims 
might one day call for vengeance ; and he attempts to 
provide, beforehand, a defence that is truly inge- 
nious : — 

" Give no place to the Devil by rash censuring of others, 
without sulficient grounds, or false accusing any wilbngly. 
This is indeed to be like the Devil, who hath the title, 
/Jiu^h).o^', in the Greek, because he is tlie calumniator or 
false accuser. Hence, when we read of such accusers in 
the latter days, they are, in the original, called Jiu(io).ni, 
calunuiiatorni (2 Tim. iii. 3). It is a time of tenn)tation 
amongst you, such as never was belbre : let me entreat 
you not to be lavish or severe in reflecting on the malice 
or envy of your neighbors, by whom any of you have been 
accused, lest, whilst you falsely charge one another, — 
viz., the relations of the afHicted and relations of the ac- 
cused, — the grand accuser (who loves to tish in troubled 
waters) should take advantage upon you. Look at sin, the 
procuring cause ; God in justice, the sovereign ellicient ; and 
Satan, the enemy, the principal instrument, both in atllicting 
some and accusing others. And, if innocent persons be sus- 
pected, it is to be ascribed to God's pleasure, supremely per- 
mitting, and SatKu's malice subordiuately troubling, by 
representation of such to the afflicting of others, even 
of such as have, all the while, we have reason to believe 
(especially some of them), no kind of ill-will or disrespect 
imto those that have been complained of by them. This 
giving place to the Devil avoid ; for it will have uucomfbrta- 

■ LI;- 





( >:\ 



ble and pernicious influence \\\)o\\ the aflTairs of this place, 
by lettin;; out peace, and bringing in confusion and every 
evil work, which we hearti'iy i)ray God, in mercy, to pre- 

This artifice of statement, speciously covered, — 
while it outrages every sentiment of natural justice, 
and l)reaks every bond of social responsibility, — is 
found, upon close inspection, to be a shocking im})uta- 
tion against the divine administration. It represents 
the Deity, under the phrases " sovereign efficient" and 
" supremely permitting" in a view which affords equal 
shelter to every other class of criminals, even of the 
deepest dye, as well as those who were ready and eager 
to bring upon their neighbors the charge of confederacy 
with Satan. 

The next Sunday — March 27 — was the regular 
communion-day of the village church ; and Mr. Parris 
prepared duly to improve the occasion to advance the 
movement then so strongly under way, and to deepen 
still moi-c the impression made by the events of the 
week, especially by Mr. Lawson's sermon. He accord- 
ingly composed an elaborate and effective discourse of 
his own ; and a scene was arranged to follow the regular 
service, which could not but produce important results. 
An unexpected occurrence — a part not in the pro- 
gramme — took place, which created a sensation for 
the moment ; but it tended, upon the whole, to heighten 
the public excitement, and, without much disturbing 
the order, only precipitated a little the progress of 



It may well be supposed, that the congregation as- 
sembled that day with minds awfully solemnized, and 
altogether in a condition to be deeply aflected by the 
services. A respecta!)le person always prominently 
noticeable for her devout i)articipation in the worship 
of the sanctuary, and a member of the church, had, 
on Monday, after a public examination, been com- 
mitted to prison, and was thei'e in irons, waiting to be 
tried for her life for the blackest of crimes, — a con- 
federacy with the enemy of the souls of men, the 
archtraitor and rebel against the throne of God. 
On Thursday, another venerable, and ever before 
considered pious, matron of a large and influential 
family, a participant in their worship, and a member of 
the mother-church, had been consigned to the same 
fate, to be tried for the same horrible crime. A little 
child had been proved to have also joined in the infer- 
nal league. No one could tell to what extent Satan 
had lengthened his chain, or who, whether old or 
young, were in league with him. Every soul was still 
alive to the impressions made by Mr. Lawson's great 
discourse, and by the throngs of excited people, in- 
cluding magistrates and ministers, that had been gath- 
ered in the village. 

The character and spirit of JMr. Parris's sermon are 
indicated in a prefatory note in the manuscript, " occa- 
sioned by dreadful witchcraft broke out here a few 
weeks past ; and one member of this church, and another 
of Salem, upon public examination by civil authority, 
vehemently suspected for she-witches." The running 



it ■ 






title is, " Clirist knows how many devils there are in 
liis church, und who tliey arc;" and tlic text is John 
vi. 70, 71, "Jesus answered them. Have not 1 chosen 
you twelve, and one of you is a devil ? lie spake of 
Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon; for he it was that 
should hetray lii'>i, heing one of tlie twelve." 

Peter Cloyse was horn ^lay 27, IG^O. He came to 
Salem from 1 ork, in IMaine, and was one of the origi- 
nal meml)crs of the village church. He appears tt» 
have hcen a person of the greatest respectability and 
strength of character. He married Sarah, sister of 
Rebecca Nurse, and widow of Edmund Bridges. She 
was admitted to the village church, Jan. 12, 1090, be- 
ing then al)out forty-eight years of age. It may well 
be supposed that she and her family were overwhelmed 
with allHction and horror by the proceedings against 
her sister. But, as she uid her husband were both 
communicants, and it ^^^s sacrament-day, it was 
thouglit best for them to summon resolution to attend 
the service. After much persuasion, she was induced 
to go. She was a very sensitive pci-son, and it must 
have required a great effort of fortitude. Her mind 
was undoubtedly much harrowed by the allusions made 
to the events of the week ; and, when Mr. Parris an- 
nounced his text, and opened his discourse in the 
spirit his language indicates, she could bear it no 
longer, but rose, and left the meeting. A fresh wind 
blowing at the time caused tl;e door to slam after her. 
The congregation was probably startled ; but Parrig, 
was not long embarrassed by the interruption, and 






slic was attoiided to in duo season. At the close 

oi' tlio service, the following scene occurred. 1 

give it as Parris describes it in his church-record 
book ; — 

'■ yifter the common aiulitory wn3 dismisfsed, and before 
the cliiu'c-Ii'si comnnniion «t the i^oid's Table, the following 
testinu)ny against the error of our Sister Mary Sibley, who 
had given direction to my Indian man in an miwjvrrantablo 
way to find out witches, was read by the pastor : — 

" It is altogether undeniable that our great and blessed 
God, for wist! and holy ends, hath suffered many persons, 
in several families, of this little village, to be grievously 
vexed and tortured in body, and to be deeply tempted, to 
the endangering of the destruction of their soids ; and all 
these amazing feats (well known to many of us) to be done 
by witc'icraft and diabolical operations. It is also well 
known, tiiat, when these calamities first began, which Avas 
in my own family, the affliction was several weeks before 
such hellish operations as witchcraft were suspected. Nay, 
it was not brought forth to any considerable light, until 
diabolical means were used by the making of a cake by 
my Irlian man, who had his direction from this our sister, 
Mary Sibley; since which, apparitions have been plenty, 
tvnd exceeding much mischief hath followed. But, by these 
means (it seems), the Devil hath been raised amongst us, 
and his rage is vehement and terrible ; and, when he shall 
be silenced, the Lord only knows. But now that this our 
sister should be instrumental to such distress is a great 
grief to myself, and our godly l.jnored and reverend neigh- 
bors, who have had the knowledge of it. Nevertheless, I 
do truly hope and believe, that this our sister doth truly 




fi'ur the Lord; ntnl I am well sutisfictl (Voin Iut, that, what 
she (lid, hIic did it i^^rioraiitly, from what she had heard of 
this nature from other ignorant or worse persons. Y(!t wo 
are in duty hound to protest a;:fainst such actions, as heing 
indeed u goin;^ to the Devil for help against the Devil: wo 
having no such directi(»ns from luiture, or (lod's word, it 
must therefore be, and is, accoimted, by godly Protestants 
who write or speak of such matters, as diabolical ; and there- 
fore calls this our sister to deep huinilialion for what she 
luis done, and all of us to be watidiful against Satan's wiles 
and devices. 

" Therefore, as we, in duty ns a church of Christ, are 
deeply bound to protest against it, ns most directly contrary 
to the gospel, yet, inasmuch as this our sister did it in igno- 
rance as she professeth and we believe, we can contimie her 
in our holy fellowship, upon her serious promiie of future 
better advisedness and caution, and acknowledging that she 
is indeed sorrowful for her rashness herein. 

" Brethren, if this be your mind, that this iniquity should 
be thus borne witness against, manifest it by your usual sign 
of lilting up your hands. — The brethren voted generally, or 
universally: none made any exceptions. 

" Sister Sibley, i " you are convinced that you herein did 
sinfully, and are sorry for it, let us hear it from your own 
mouth. — She did manifest to satisfaction her error and grief 
for it. 

"Brethren, if herein yon have received satisfaction, 
testily it by lifting up your hands. — A general vote passed ; 
no exception made. 

"Note. — 25th March, 1G92. I discoursed said sister 
in my study about her grand error aforesaid, and also then 
read to her what I had written as above to be read to the 




clmrch ; nnd snid Sister Sibley assented to the same with 
tears and sorrowful confession." 

This proceeding was of more importance than ap- 
pears, perhaps, at first view. It was one of Mr. Par- 
rls's most skilful moves. The course pursued hy the 
" afllicted " persons had, thus far, in reference to 
those engaged in the prosecutions, been in the right 
direction. But it was manifest, after the exhibitions 
they had given, that they wielded a fearfid power, too 
fearful to be left without control. They could cry 
out upon whomsoever they pleased ; and against their 
accusal* yus, armed as they were with the power to 
fix the charge of guilt upon any one by giving ocular 
demonstration that he or she was the author of their 
sufferings, there could be no defence. They might 
turn, at any moment, and cry out upon Parris or 
Lawson, or either or both of the deacons. Nothing 
could withstand the evidence of their fits, convul- 
sions, and tortures. It was necessary to have and 
keep them under safe control, and, to this end, to 
prevent any outsiders, or any injudicious or inter- 
meddling people, from holding intimacy with them. 
Parris saw this, and, with his characteristic boldness 
of action and fertility of resources, at once put a stop 
to all trouble, and closed the door against danger, 
from this quarter. 

Samuel Sibley was a member of the church, and a 
near neighbor of Mr. Parris. He was about thirty- 
six years of age. His wife Mary was thirty-two years 
of age, and also a member of the church. They 

VOL. 11. 7 

ft *#- 



wore pnrsoMs of respectable standing and good repute. 
Notliing is known to her disadvantage, but lier fool- 
ish connection with the mystical o|)erationH going on 
in Mr. Parris's family ; and of this she was heartily 
ashamed. ][(;r {tenitent sensibility is quite touch- 
ingly described i)y Mr. Parris. It is true that what 
she had done was a trifle in comparison with what 
was going on every day in the families of Mr. Parris 
and Thomas Putnam : but she had acted " rashly," 
without " advisedncss " from the right (piarter, under 
the lead of " ignorant persons ; " and therefore it was 
necessary to make a great ado about it, and hold her 
up as a warning to prevent other persons from med- 
dling in such matters. Her husband was an uncle 
of Mary Walcot, one of the afllicted children ; and 
it was particularly important to keep their relatives, 
and meml)ers of their immediate families, from taking 
any part or action in connection with them, except 
under duo " advisedness," and the direction of persons 
learned in such deep matters. The family connec- 
tions of the Sibleys were extensive, and a blow struck 
at that point would be felt everywhere. The pro- 
cedure was undoubtedly effectual. After Mary Sibley 
had been thus awfully rebuked and distressingly ex- 
posed for dealing with " John Indian," it is not likely 
that any one else ever ventured to intermeddle with 
the " afflicted," or have any connection, except as 
outside spectators, with the marvellous phenomena 
of " diabolical operations." It will bo noticed, that, 
while Mr. Parris t^us waved the sword of disciplinary 




vcuf^ojiiico apiinst niiy wlio should daro to iiitrutlo 
upon tli(3 roi-l)i(l«l«Mt ^I'oiiixl, he occtipicd it hiiu.->('ir 
without dis*ruis(% a:id iMaiiitaiiitMl his liohl upon it. 
lie assorts tho reality of the " anui/ing foats" prac- 
tised by diaholieal power in their midst, and euforees 
ill tho stroHfj^est hui^ua^e the then prevalent views 
and pending procoedinjrs. 

Th(! operations of the week, ineludinjj; the solemn 
censure of Mary Sihlcy, had all worked favorably for 
the prosecutors and managers of the business. The 
magistrates, ministers, and whole body of the people, 
had become committed ; the accusing girls had proved 
themselves aj»t and comj)et(Mit to their work ; the jtublic 
reason was prostrated, and natural sensil>ility stunned. 
All resisting lorces were powerless, and all collateral 
dangers avoided and provided against. The move- 
ment was fully in hand. The next step was maturely 
considered, and, as we shall see, skilfully taken. 

It is to be observed, that there was, at this time, 
a break in the regular government of Massachusetts. 
In the spring of lt»89, the people had risen, seized 
the royal governor. Sir Edmund Andros, and put 
him in prison. They summoned their old charter 
governor, Simon Bradstreet, then living in Salem, 
eighty-seven years of age, to the chair of state ; called 
the assistants of 1080 back to their scats, who pro- 
vided for an election of representatives by the jieople 
of the towns ; and the government thus created con- 
ducted affairs until the arrival of Sir William Phipps, 
in May, 1692, when Massachusetts ceased to be a 

'^"^' :?: 

4' i ■< 



1 1 





colony, and was thenceforth, until 1774, a royal prov- 
ince. During these three years, from May, 1G89, to 
May, 1092, the government was based upon an up- 
rising of the people. It was a period of pure and 
absolute independence of the crown or parliament 
of p]ngland. Although Bradstrcet's faculties were un- 
impaired and his spirit true and firm, his age pre- 
vented his doiiig much more than to give his loved 
and vencriitcd name to the daring movement, and to 
the official service, of the people. The executive func- 
tions were, for the most part, exercised by the deputy- 
governor, Thomas Danforth, who was a person of 
great ability and public spirit. Unfortunately, at this 
time he was zealously in favor of the witchcraft prose- 
cutions. Bradstreet was throughout opposed to them. 
Had time held off its hand, and his physical en.crgies 
not been impaired, he would undoubtedly have re- 
sisted and prevented them. Danforth, it is said by 
Brattle, came to disapprove of them finally : but he 
began them by arrests in other towns, months before 
any thing of the kind was thought of in Salem Village ; 
and he contributed, prominently, to give destructive 
and wide-spread power, in an early stage of its devel- 
opment, to the witchcraft delusion here. 

After the lapse of a week, preparations were com- 
pleted to renew operations, and a higher and more com- 
manding character given to them. On Monday, April 4, 
Captain Jonathan Walcot and Lieutenant Nathaniel 
Ingcrsoll went to the town, and, " for themselves and 
several of their neighbors," exhibited to the assistants 




rcsidi j, there, John Hathornc and Jonatlian Corwin, 
complaints against " Sar?]' Cloyse, the wife of Peter 
Cloyse of Salem Village, and Elizabeth Procter of 
Salem Farms, for high suspicion of sundry acts of 
witchcraft." There the plan of proceedings in refer- 
ence to the above-said parties was agreed upon. It 
was the result of consultation ; communications prol>- 
ably passing with' the deputy-governor in Boston, or 
at his residence in Cambridge. On the 8th of April, 
warrants were duly issued, ordering the marshal to 
bring in the pri&oners " on Monday morning next, 
being the eleventh day of this instant April, about 
eleven of the clock, in the public meeting-house in the 
town." It had been arranged, that the examination 
should not be, as before, in the ordinary way, before 
the two local magistrates, but, in an extraordinary 
way, before the highest tribunal in the colony, or a 
representation of it. For a preliminary hearing, with 
a view merely to commitment for trial, this surely may 
justly be characterized as an extraordinary, wholly 
irregular, and, in all points of view, reprehensible 
procedure. When the day came, the meeting-house, 
which was much more cai)acious than that at the 
village, was crowded ; and the old town filled with 
excited throngs. Upon opening proceedings, lo and 
behold, instead of the two magistrates, the government 
of the colony was present, in the highest character 
it then had as " a council " ! The record says, — 

"Salem, April 11, 1692. — At a Council held at Salem, 
and present Thomas Danforlh, Esq., deputy-governor ; 


'^ I 

:^ -U' -^ 





James Russell, .Tohn Hathorne, Isaac Addington, Major 
Samuel Appleton, Captain Samuel Sewall, Jonathau Cor- 
wiu, Esquires." 

Russell was of Charlestown, Addington and Sewall 
of Boston, and Appleton of Ipswich. Mr. Parris, 
" being desired and appointed to write the examina- 
tion, did take the same, and also read it before the 
council in public." This document has not come 
down to us ; but Hutchinson had access to it, and 
the substance of it is preserved in his " History of 

The marshal (Herrick) brought in Sarah Cloyse 
and Elizabeth Procter, and delivered them " before 
the honorable council : " and the examination was 

The deputy-governor first called to the stand John 
Indian, and plied him, as was the course pursued on 
all these occasions, with leading questions : — 

"John, who hurt you? — Goody Procter first, and then 
Goody Cloyse. 

" What did she do to you? — She brought the book to 

" John, tell the truth : who hurts you ? Have you been 
hurt? — The first was a gentlewoman I saw. 

" Who next ? — Goody Cloyse. 

" But who luu't you next ? — Goody Procter. 

" What did she do to you ? — She choked me, and 
brought the book. 

" How oft did she come to torment you? — A good many 
times, she and Goody Cloyse. 





Do they come to you in the night, as well as the day ? 
— They come most in the day. 

" Who ? — Goody Cloyse and Goody Procter. 

" Where did she take hold of you ? — Upon my throat, to 
stop my breath. 

" Do you know Goody Cloyse and Goody Procter ? — 
Yes : here is Goody Cloyse." 

We may well suppose that these two respectable 
women must have becu filled with indignation, shocked, 
and amazed at the statements made by the Indian, 
following the leading interrogatories of the Court. 
Sarah Cloyse broke out, " When did I hurt thee ? " 
He answered, "A great many times." She exclaimed, 
" Oh, you are a grievous liar ! " The Court proceeded 
with their questions : — 

" What did this Goody Cloyse do to you? — She pinched 
and bit me till the blood came. 

" How long since this woman came and hurt you ? — Yes- 
terday, at meeting. 

" At any time before ? — Yes : a great many times." 

Having drawn out John Indian, the Court turned to 
the other afflicted ones : — 

" Mary Walcot, who hurts you ? — Goody Cloyse. 
" What did she do to you ? — She hurt me. 
" Did she bring the book ? — Yes. 

" What was you to do with it ? — To touch it, and be 

" (Then she fell into a fit.)" 

This put a stop to the examination for a time ; but 
it was generally quite easy to bring witnesses out of a 



fit, and restore entire calmness of mind. All that was 
necessary Avas to lift them up, and carry them to the 
accused person, the touch of any part of whose body 
would, in an instant, relieve the sufferer. Tliis having 
been done, the examination proceeded : — 

" Doth she come alone? — Sometimes alone, and some- 
times in company with Goody Nurse and Goody Corey, and 
a great many I do not know. 

" (Then she fell into a fit again.)" 

She was, probably, restored in the same way as be- 
fore ; but, her part being finished for that stage of the 
proceeding, another of the afflicted children took the 
stand : — 

" AlMgail Williams, did you see a company at Mr. Par- 
ris's house eat and drink? — Yes, sir: that was in tlic 

I would call attention to the form of the foregoing 
questions. Hutchinson says that " Mr. Parris was 
over-officious : most of the examinations, although in 
the presence of one or more magistrates, were taken 
by him." He put the questions. They show, on this 
occasion, a miuute knowledge beforehand of what the 
witnesses are to say, which it cannot be supposed 
Danforth, Russell, Addington, Appleton, and Sewall, 
strangers, as they were, to the place and the details of 
the affair, could have had. The examination pro- 
ceeded : — 


How many were there ? — About forty, and Goody 
Cloyse and Goody Good were their deacons. 



"What was if? — They said it was our blood, uud they 
had it twice that day." 

Tlie interrogator again turned to Mary Walcot, and 
inquired, — 

" Have yoia seea a white mau ? — Yes, sir : a great mauy 

" What sort of a man was he ? — A fine grave man ; and, 
when lie came, he made all the witches to tremble. 

'' (Abigail Williams confirmed the same, and that they had 
such a sight ut Deacon IngersoU's.) 

" Who was at Deacon IngersoU's then ? — Goody Cloyse, 
Goody Nurse, Goody Corey, and Goody Good. 

" (Then Sarah Cloyse asked for water, and sat down, as 
one seized with a dying, fainting fit ; and several of the 
afflicted fell into fits, and some of them cried out, ' Oh ! her 
spirit has gone to prison to her sister Nurse.')" 

The audacious lying of the witnesses ; the horrid 
monstrousness of their charges against Sarah Cloyse, 
of having bitten the flesh of the Indian brute, and 
drank herself and distributed to others, as deacon, at 
an infernal sacrament, the blood of the wicked crea- 
tures making these foul and devilish declarations, 
known by her to be utterly and wickedly false ; and 
the fact that they were believed by the deputy, the 
council, and the assembly, — were more than she 
could bear. Her soul sickened at such unimaginable 
depravity and wrong ; her nervous system gave way ; 
she fainted, and sunk to the floor. The manner in 
which the girls turned the incident against her shows 
how ihey were hardened to all human feeling, and the 

1:1 .■ 





cimniiig art which, on all occasions, characterized their 
proceedings. Tlmt such an insolent interruption and 
disturbance, on their part, was permitted, without re- 
buke from the Court, is a perpetual dishonor to every 
member of it. The scene exhibited at this moment, 
in the meeting-house, is worthy of an attempt to im- 
agine. The most terrible sensation was naturally pro- 
duced, by the swooning of the prisoner, the loudly 
uttered and savage mockery of the girls, and their 
going simultaneously into fits, screaming at the top of 
their voices, twisting into all possible attitudes, stitToned 
as in death, or gasping with convulsive spasms of 
agony, and crying out, at intervals, " There is the black 
man whispering in Cloyse's ear," " Tliere is a yellow- 
bird flying round hei head." John Indian, on such 
occasions, used to confine his achievements to tum- 
bling, and rolling his ugly body about the floor. The 
deepest commiseration was felt by all for the " afflict- 
ed," and men and women rushed to hold and soothe 
them. There was, no doubt, much loud screeching, and 
some miscellaneous faintings, through the whole crowd. 
At length, by bringing the sufferers into contact with 
Goody Cloyse, the diabolical fluid passed back into her, 
thoy were all relieved, and the examination was re- 
sumed. Elizabeth Procter was now brought forward. 
In the account given, in the First Part, of the popu- 
lation of Salem Village and the contiguous farms, her 
husband, John Procter, was introduced to our ac- 
quaintance. From what we then saw of him, we are 
well assured that he would not shrink from the protec- 











tion and defence of his wife. lie accompanied her 
from her arrest to her arraignment, and stood by 
her side, a strong, brave, and resolnte guardian, trying 
to support her under the terrible trials of her situation, 
and ready to comfort and aid her to the extent of his 
power, disregardful of all consequences to himself. 
The examination proceeded : — 

" I^Iizabeth Procter, you understand wliereof you are 
charged ; viz., to be guilty of sundry acts of witchcraft. 
What say you to it ? Speak the truth ; and so you that arc 
afflicted, you must speak the truth, as you will answer it be- 
fore God another day. Mary Walcot, doth this woman hurt 
you ? — I never saw her so as to be hurt by her. 

" Mercy Lewis, does she hurt you ?. 

" (Her mouth was stopped.) 

" Ann Putnam, does she hurt you ? 

" (She could not speak.) 

" Abigail Williams, does she hurt you ? 

" (Her hand was thrust in her own mouth.) 

"John, does she hurt you? — This is the woman that 
came in her shift, and choked me. 

" Did she ever bring the book? — Yes, sir. 

" What to do ? — To write. 

" What ? this woman ? — Yes, sir. 
Are you sure of it? — Yes, sir. 

(Again Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam were spoke 
to by the Court ; but neither of them could make any answer, 
by reason of dumbness or other fits.) 

"What do you say, Goody Procter, to these things? — 
I take God in heaven to be my witness, that I know nothing 
of it, no more than the child unborn. 



il; h 



■I i" 

" Ami Putnam, doth this wcmau hurt you ? — Yes, sir : a 
great many times, 

" (Tlieo the accused looked upou them, and they fell into 

" She does not bring the book to you, does she ? - -Yes, sir, 
often ; and saith she hath made her nuiid set her Iwvud to it. 

" Abigail Williams, does this woman inirt you? — Yes, 
sir, often. 

^' Does she bring the book to you ? — Yes. 

"What would she have you do with it? — To write in 
it, and I shall be well." 

Turning to the accused, Abigail said, " Did not 
you tell me that your maid had written ? " Goody 
Procter seems to have been utterly amazed at the 
conduct and charges of the girls. She knew, of 
course, that what they said was lalpc ; but })erhaps she 
thought them crazy, and therefore objects of pity and 
compassion, and felt disposed to treat them kindly, 
and see whether they could not be recalled to their 
senses, and restored to their better nature : for Parris, 
in his account, says that at tnis point she answered the 
question thus put to her by Abigail thus ,: " Dear child, 
it is not so. There is another judgment, dear child." 
But kindness was thrown away upon them ; for Par- 
ris says that immediately " Abigail and Ann had 
fits." After coming out of them, " they cried out, 
' Look you ! there is Goody Procter upon the beam.' " 
Instantly, as we may well suppose, the whole audience 
looked where they pointed. Their manner gave as- 
surance that they saw her " on the beam," among the 

all (I 
a mil 
is n| 
at t| 




rafters of the incctin<j^-liouse ; l)ut she was invisible to 
all other eyes. The j)CO))le, no doubt, were filled with 
amazement at such supernaturalism. But John Proc- 
ter, her husband, did not believe a word of it: and it 
is not to be doubted that he expressed his indignation 
at the nonsense and the outrage in his usual i)old, 
string, and unguarded language, which brought down 
the vengeance of the girls at once on his own 1 ead ; 
for Parris, in his report, goes on to say: — 

" (By siud by, both of them cried out of Goodinau Procter 
hiiiLseif, and said lie was a wizard. Iiuincdiately, many if 
noi all of the bewitched bad grievous fits.) 

" Ann Putnam, who hurt you ? — Goodman Procter, and 
his wife too. 

" (Afterwards, some of the afflicted cried, ' There is Proc- 
ter going to take up Mrs. Pope's feet ! ' and her feet were 
immediately taken up.) 

" AVhat do you say, Goodman Procter, to these things ? — 
I know not. I am innocent. 

" (Abigail Williams cried out, 'There is Goodman Proc- 
ter going to IMrs. Pope ! ' and immediately said Pope fell 
into a fit.)" 

At this point, the deputy, or some member of the 
Court interposed, if I interpret rightly Parris's report, 
which is here obscurely expressed, inasmuch as he 
does not say who spoke ; but the import of the words 
indicates that they proceeded from some member of 
the Court, who was perfectly deceived : — 

" You see, the Devil will deceive you : the children could 
see what you was going to do before the woman was hurt. 

[\ I 

Li * >, M 







I would julvise you to repentance, for tliu Devil is bringing 
you out. 

" (AI)i<:nK \\ illinms cried out ufiuin, ' Thcro is (Joodmnn 
Procter going to hurt Goody liibber ! * and ininiediatoly 
Goody liibber fell into a fit. There was the like of Mary 
AValcot, and divers others. Iknjannn (lould gave in his 
testimony, that he had seen Goodman Corey and his wife, 
Procter and his wife. Goody Cloyse, Goody Nurse, and 
Goody (Sriggs in his chamber last Thursday night. Kliza- 
beth IIubl)ard was in a trance during the whole examinaiion. 
During the examination of Elizabeth Procter, Abigail Wil- 
liams and Ann Putnam both made offer to strike at said 
Procter ; but, when Abigail's hand came near, it oj)ened, — 
whereas it was made up into a fist before, — and came down 
exceedlag lightly as it drew near to said Procter, and at 
length, with open and extended fingers, touched Procter's 
hood very lightly. Immediately, Abigail cried out, her fin- 
gers, her fingers, her fingers burned ; and Ann Putnam took 
on most grievously of her head, and sunk down.)" 

Hutcliiiisoii, after giving Parris's account of this 
examination, expresses himself thus : " No wonder the 
whole country was in a consternation, when persons of 
sober lives and unblemished characters were com- 
mitted to prison upon such sort of evidence. Nobody 
was safe." All things considered, it may perhaps be 
said, that, filled as the witchcraft proceedings were 
throughout with folly and outrage, there was nothing 
worse than this examination, conducted by the deputy- 
governor and council, on the 11th of April, 1692, in 
the great meeting-house of the First Church in Salem. 
It must have been a scene of the wildest disorder, par- 




ticularly in tho lattor j)art of it. No wonder that tho 
people in general were deliiiled, wlien tho learned 
coimcillors of tho colony countenanced, j)artieipated 
in, and gave ell'ect to, such disorderly procedures in a 
house of worship, in the presence of a high judicial 
tribunal, and of the then supreme government of tho 
colony ! 

Benjamin Oould gave his volunteer testimony with- 
out " advisedncss," and quite incontinently. Ho 
brought out (Joodman Corey before the managers were 
quite ready to fall upon him ; and he antedated, by a 
considerable length of time, any such imputation upon 
Goody Griggs. It was well for Elizabeth Hubbard to 
have l)oen in a trance, so that she coidd not hear the 
mention of her aunt's name. Tho council seems to 
have adjourned to the next day, at tho same place, 
when Mr. Parris " gave further information against 
said John Procter," which, unfortunately, lias not 
come down to us. The result was, that Sarah Cloyse, 
John Procter, and Elizabeth his wife, were all commit- 
ted for trial, and, with Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey, 
and Dorcas Good, were sent to the jail in Boston, in the 
custody of Marshal Herrick. 

Tho proceedings of the 11th and 12th of April pro- 
duced a groat etfoct in driving on the general infatua- 
tion. Judge Sewall, who was present as one of tho 
council, in his diary at this date, says, " Went to 
Salem, where, in the meeting-house, the persons ac- 
cused of witchcraft were examined ; was a very great 
assembly ; 'twas awful to see how tho afflicted persons 


t . 



1 '■ ■ i 




were n^itatoU." In tlio ninrp:in Ih written, np|mrontly 
sonio timo al'torwanls, tho intcM-jection " J'^'/" tliiico 
rep(!ut(!(l, — " Ala.s, alas, alas I " What pcnTcctly dc- 
liuled lilin and Danforth, and ovcryl»ody, were tho 
cxliil)iti(Mis made by the " alllictod children." This is 
the ^:rand phenomenon of the witchcraft proceedinirs 
hero in 1(502. It, and it alone, carried them thronjj,h. 
Those ^irls, by h)n^ |)ractice in " tlie circle," and day 
by day, befbro astonished and wondering neighbors 
gath(M-ed to witness their distresses, and esj)ecially on 
the more pnblic occasions of the examinations, had 
ac(niired consummate boldness and tact. In simula- 
tion of passions, suirerlngs, and physical alfections ; in 
skMght of hand, and in tho management of voice and 
feature and attitude, — no necromancers have sur- 
passed them. There has schlom been better acting in 
a theatre than they displayed in the presence of tho 
astonished and horror-stricken rulers, magistrates, 
ministers, judges, jurors, si)Cctators, and prisoners. 
No one seems to have dreamed that their actings and 
sulferings could have been the result of cunning or 
imposture. Dcodat Lawson was a man of talents, had 
seen much of tho world, and was by no means a simple- 
ton, recluse, or novice ; but ho was wholly deluded by 
them. The prisoners, although conscious of their own 
innocence, wore utterly confounded by the acting of tho 
girls. The austere principles of that generation for- 
bade, with tho utmost severity, all theatrical shows and 
performances. But at Salem Village and the old 
town, in the respective meeting-houses, and at Deacon 



Nathaniel Innorsoir.H, some of tlio host playiiij; over got 
lip ill this country was practised ; and patronized, fo.* 
weeks and months, at the very centre and heart of 
Puritanism, by '* the most straitost sect " of that 
solemn order of men. I'astors, deacons, church- 
members, doctors of divinity, collcj^c professors, olhcers 
of state, crowded, day after day, to behold feats which 
have never been surpassed on the boards of any thea- 
tre ; which rivalled the most memorable achievements 
of pantomimists, thaumutur<'ists, and stage-players; 
and made considerable ajjproaches towards the best 
j)erformances of ancient sorcerers and magicians, or 
modern jugglers and mesmerizers. 

The meeting of the council at Salem, on the 11th of 
April, 1(>'J2, changed in one sense the whole charac- 
ter of the transaction. Before, it had been a Salem 
alTair. After this, it was a Massachusetts alfair. The 
colonial government at Boston had obtruded itself 
upon the ground, and, of its own will and seeking, ir- 
regularly, aiul without call or justification, had taken 
the whole thing out of the hands of the local author- 
ities into its own management. Neither the town nor 
the village of Salem is responsible, as a j)rincipal 
actor, for what subsequently took place. To that 
meeting of the deputy-governor and his associates 
in the colonial administration, at an early period of 
tlic transaction, the calamities, outrages, and shame 
that followed must in justice be ascribed. Had it 
not taken place, the delusion, as in former instances 
and other places here and in the mother-country, 

!■ M 





i I 



would have remained within its original local limits, 
and soon disappeared. That meeting, and the pro- 
ceedings then had, gave to the fanaticism the momen- 
tum that drove it on, and extended its destructive 
influence far and wide. 

The next step in the proceedings is one of the most 
remarkable features in the case. It is, in some points 
of view, more suggestive of suspicion, that there was, 
behind the whole, a skilful and cunning management, 
ingeniously contriving schemes to mislead the public 
mind, than almost any other part of the transaction. 
^Mary Warren, as has been said, was a servant in the 
family of John Procter. She was a member of the 
" circle " that had so long met at Mr. Parris's house 
or Thomas Putnam's. She was a constant attendant 
at its meetings, and a leading spirit among the girls. 
She did not take an open part against her master or 
mistress at their examination, although she acted 
with avidity and malignity against them as an accu- 
sing witness at their trials, two months afterwards. 
It is to be noticed, that Ann Putnam and Abigail 
"Williams, at the examination of Elizabeth Procter, 
April 11, accused her of having induced or com- 
pelled " her maid to set her hand to the book." 

On the 18th of April, warrants were got out against 
Giles Corey and ]\Iary Warren, both of Salem Farms ; 
Abigail Hobbs, daughter of William Ilobbs, of Tops- 
lield ; and Bridget Bishop, wife of Edward Bishop, of 
Salem, — to be brought in the next forenoon, at about 
eight o'clock, at the house of Lieutenant Nathaniel 



Ingorsoll, of Salem Village. How Mary Warren be- 
came transformed from an accuser to an accused, 
from an afflicted person to an afllicter, is the question. 
It is not easy to fathom the conduct of these girls. 
They appear to have acted upon a ])lan deliberately 
formed, and to have had an understanding witli each 
otiier. At the same time, occasionally, they had or 
pretended to have a falliiig-out, and came into con- 
tradiction. This was ]>erha})S a mere blind, to ])re- 
vent the suspicion of collusion. The accounts given 
of Mary Warren seem to render it quite certain that 
sl»e acted with deliberate cunning, and was a guilty 
conspirator with the other accusers in carrying on 
the plot from the beginning. No doubt, it fre(iuently 
occurred to those concerned in it, that suspicions 
might possibly get into currency that they were acting 
a part in concert. It was necessary, by all means, to 
guard against such an idea. This may be the key to 
interpret the arrest and proceedings against Mary 
Warren. If it is, the affair, it must be confessed, was 
managed with great shrewdness and skill. Siie con- 
ducted the stratagem most dexterously. All at once 
she fell away from tlie circle, and began to talk against 
tiie "afflicted children," and went so far as to say, 
that they "did but dissemble." Innncdiately, they 
cried out upon her, charged her with witchcraft, aiul 
had her a})prehended. After b(.''ig carried to j)rison, 
she spoke in strong language against the proceedings. 
Four persons of unquestional)le ti uthfulness, in ))rison 
with her, on the same charge, pre{)ared a deposition 



i ll 




to tliis effect : " We licard Mary Warren several times 
say tliat the magistrates might as well examine Key- 
sar's danghter that had been distracted many years, 
and talce notice of what she said, as well as any of tlie 
afflicted persons. ' For,' said Mary Warren, ' when I was 
afflicted, I thought I saw the apparitions of a hundred 
persons ; ' for she said her head was distempered that 
she could not tell what she said. And the said Mary 
told us, that, when she was well again, she could not 
say that she saw any of the apparitions at the time 
aforesaid." I will now give the substance of her ex- 
amination, which commenced on the 19th of April. 
Mr. Parris was, as usual, requested to take minutes 
of the proceedings, which have been preserved : — 

" Examination of Mary Warren^ at a Court held at Salem 
Village, hy John Hathorne and Jonathan Cortcin, Esqrs. 

" (As soou as she was coming towurds tlie bar, the afflicted 
fell into fits.) 

" Mary Warren, you stand here charged with sundry 
acts of witchcraft. What do you say for yourself? Are 
you guilty or not? — I am innocent. 

" Hath she hurt you ? (Speaking to the sufferers.) 

" (Some were dumb. Betty Hubbard testified against 
her, and then said Hubbard fell into a violent fit.) 

" You were, a little while ago, an afflicted person ; now 
you are an afflicter. How comes this to pass? — I look 
up to God, and take it to be a great mercy of God. 

" What ! do you take it to be a great mercy to afilict 
others ? 

" (Now they were all but Johu Indian grievously afflicted, 



and Mrs. Pope also, who wa.s not afflicted before hitherto 
this day ; and, after a few moments, John Indian fell into 
a violent fit also.) " 

" Well, here " (Mr. Parris, the reporter, goes on 
to say) " was one that just now was a tormcnter in 
her apparition, and she owns that she had made a 
league with the Devil." The marvel was, that, having 
before been a sufferer, as one of the afTlicted accusers, 
she had then, at that moment, appeared in the oppo- 
site character, and owned herself to have become a 
confederate with the Evil One. Having established 
this conviction in the minds of the magistrates and 
spectators, the point was reached at which she com- 
pleted the delusion by appearing to break away from 
her bondage to Satan, assume the functions of a con- 
fessing and abjuring witch, and retake her place, with 
tenfold effect, among the accusing witnesses. The 
manner in which she rescued herself from the power 
of Satan exhibits a specimen of acting seldom sur- 
passed. The account proceeds thus : — 

" Now Mary Warren fell into a fit, and some of the 
afflicted cried out that she was going to confess ; but Goody 
Corey, and Procter and his wife, came in, in their apparition, 
and struck her down, and said she should tell nothing." 

What is given here in Italics, as an ^'■apparition,''' 
was of course based upon the declan.'ons of the 
accusing w^itnesses. It was an art they often prac- 
tised in offering their testimony. They would cry 
out, that the Devil, generally in the shape of a black 
man, appeared to them at the time, whispering in the 






car of the accused, or sitting on the beams of the 
mceting-iiouse in whicli the examinations were gen- 
erally conducted. On this occasion, they declared that 
three of the persons, then in jail in some other place, 
came in their apparitions, forbade Mary AVarren's 
confession, and struck her down. To give full elFcct 
to their statement, she went through the process of 
tumbling down. Although nothing was seen by any 
other person present, the deception was perfect. The 
Rev. Mr. Parris wrote '^ all down as having actually 
occurred. His recoru of the transaction goes on as 
follows : — 

" Mary Warren continued a good space in a fit, that she 
did neither see nor hear nor speak. 

" Afterwai'ds she started up, and said, ' I will speak,' and 
cried out, ' Oh, I am sorry for it, I am sorry for it ! ' and 
Avringed lier hands, and fell a little while into a fit again, 
and then came to speak, but immediately her teeth were 
set ; and then she fell into a violent fit, and cried out, ' O 
Lord, help me ! O good Lord, save me ! ' 

" And then afterwards cried again, ' I will tell, I will 
tell ! ' and then fell into a dead fit again. 

" And afterwards cried, ' I will tell, they did, they did, 
they did ; ' and then fell into a violent fit again. 

" After a little recovery, she cried, ' I will tell, I will tell. 
They brought me to it ; ' and then fell into a fit again, 
which fits continuing, she was ordered to be led out, and 
the next to be brought in, viz., Bridget Bishop. 

" Some time afterwards, she was called in again, but 
immediately taken with fits for a while. 

" ' Have you signed the Devil's book ? — No.' 




" ' Have you not touched it ? — No.' 

" Then she fell into fits again, and was sent forth fur uir. 

"After a considerable space of time, she was brought in 
again, but could not give account of things by reason of fits, 
and so sent forth. 

" Mary Warren called in afterwards in private, before 
magistrates and ministers. 

" She said, ' I shall not speak a word : but I will, I will 
speak, Satan ! She saith she will kill me. Oh ! she saith 
she owes me a spite, and will claw me off. Avoid Satan, 
for tiie name of God, avoid!' and then fell into fits again, 
and cried, 'Will ye ? I will prevent ye, in tlu i.xme of 
God.' " 

The magistrate inquired earnestly : — 

" ' Tell us how far have you yielded ? * 

" A fit interrupts her again. 

" ' What did they say you should do, and you should be 
well ? ' 

" Then her lips were bit, so that she could not speak : 
so she was sent away." 

Mr. Parris, the reporter of the case, adds : — 

" Note that not one of the sufferers was aflfticted during 
her examination, after once she began to confess, though 
they were tormented before." 

She was subsequently examined in the })rison 
several times, falling occasionally into fits, and ex- 
hibiting the appearance of a long-continued conflict 
with Satan, who was supposed to be resisting her 
inclination to confess, and lioldinij her with violence 

I i 

'f If 






to the contract she had made witli him. The magis- 
trates and ministers beheld with amazement and awe 
wliat they hcHcved to be precisely a similar scene to 
that described by the evangelists when the Devil strove 
against the power of the Saviour and his disciples, 
and would not quit his hold upon the young man, 
but " threw him down, and tare him." At length, as 
in that case, Satan was overcome. After a protracted, 
most violent, and terrible contest, !Mary Warren got 
released from his clutches, and made a full and cir- 
cumstantial confession. 

Whoever studies carefully the account of Mary 
Warren's successive examinations can hardly ques- 
tion, I think, that she acted a part, and acted it with 
wonderful cunning, skill, and effect. 

This examination, beginning on Tuesday, the 19th 
of April, continued after she was committed to prison 
in Salem, at the jail there, for several days, and was 
renewed at intervals until the middle of May. After 
she had thoroughly broken away from Satan, she re- 
vealed all that she had seen and heard while asso- 
ciating with him and his confederate subjects : her 
testimony was implicitly received, and it dealt death 
and destruction in all directions. It is a circumstance 
strongly confirming this view, that Mary Warren was 
soon released from confinement. It was the general 
practice to keep those, who confessed, in prison, to retain 
in that way power over them, and prevent their re- 
canting their confessions. She is found, by the papers 
on file, to have acted afterwards, as a capital witness, 



against ten persons, all of vvliom were convicted, and 
seven executed. Besides these, she testified, witii tlio 
ai)pearance of animosity and vindictivencss, against her 
master John Procter, and her mistress his wife ; thus 
contributing to secure the conviction of both, and 
tlie death of the former. In how many more cases 
she figured in the same character and to tlic same 
effect is unknown, as the i)apers in reference to only 
a very small proportion of them have come down to 
us. The interpretation I give to the course of ^[ary 
Warren exhibits her guilt, and that of those partici- 
pating in the stratagem, as of the deepest and blackest 
dye. But it seems to be the only one which a scrutiny 
of the details of her examinations, and of the facts of 
the case, allow^s us to receive. The effect was most 
decisive. The course of the accusing children in 
crying out against one of their own number satisfied 
the i)iiljlic, and convinced still more the magistrates, 
that they were truthful, honest, and upright. They 
had before given evidence that they paid no regard 
to family influence or eminent reputation. They had 
now proved that they had no partiality and no favor- 
itism, but were equally ready to bring to liglit and to 
justice any of their own circle who miglii fall into 
the snare of the Evil One, and become confederate 
with him. No dramatic artist, no cunning impostor, 
ever contrived a more ingenious plot ; and no actors 
ever carried one out better than Mary Warren and 
the afflicted children. 

Giles Corey incurred hostility, perhaps, because his 

ti ! 



deposition relating' to his wife did not come up to tlic 
mark required. It is also liiglily probable, tluit, though 
incensed at her conduct at the time, reflection had 
brought him to his senses ; and that the circumstances 
of her examination and commitment to i)rison produced 
a re-action in his mind. If so, he would have been 
apt to express himself very freely. His examination 
took place April IDth, in the meeting-house at the 
Village. The girls acted their usual part, charging 
him, one by one, with having afflicted them, and 
proving it on the spot by tortures and sutTerings. 
After they had severally got through, they all joined 
at once in their demonstrations. The report made 
by Parris says, " All the afflicted were seized now 
with tits, and troubled with pinches. Then the Court 
ordered his hands to be tied." The magistrates lost 
all control of themselves, and flew into a passion, ex- 
claiming, " What ! is it not enough to act witchcraft 
at other times, but must you do it now, in face 
of authority ? " He seems to have been profoundly 
affected by the marvellousness of the accusations, and 
the exhibition of what to him was inexplicable in the 
sufferings of the girls ; and all he could say was, " I 
am a poor creature, and cannot help it." — " Upon the 
motion of his head again, they had their heads and 
iiecks afflicted." The magistrates, not having recov- 
ered their composure, continued to pour their wrath 
upon him, " Why do you tell such wicked lies against 
witnesses?" — "One of his hands was let go, and 
several were afflicted. He held his head on one side, 




and then tlie licatls of several of the afilicted were 
held on one side. He drew in his elieeks, and the 
cheeks of some of tlie alTlicted were sucked in." Goody 
Bibber was on hand, and jtlayed her accompaniment. 
She also uttered malignant cliarj^es against him, and 
" was suddenly seized with a violent fit." One of 
Bibber's statements was that he had called her husband 
" damned devilish rogue." Through all this outrage, 
Corey was firm in asserting his innocence. Ilis lan- 
guage and manner were serious, and solenmized by 
a sense of the helplessness of his situation and the 
wicked falsehoods heaped upon him. His disagree- 
ment with his wife about the witchcraft proceedings 
being well known, the accusers endeavored to make 
it out that they had often quarrelled. But he insisted 
that the only difference which had beft "e existed be- 
tween them was a conflict of opinion on one point. 
In his family devotions, he used this expression, " liv- 
ing to God and dying to sin." She " found fault " with 
the language, and criticised it. lie thought it was all 
right ! The characteristic spirit of the old man was 
roused mo^t strikingly by one of the charges. Bib- 
ber and other- testified that Corey had said he had 
seen the Devil in the shape of a black hog, and 
was very much frightened. He could not stand 
under the imputation of cowardice, and lost sight of 
every other element in the accusation but that. The 
magistrate asked, " What did you see in the cow- 
house ? Why do you deny it ? " — "I saw nothing 
but my cattle." — " (Divers witnessed that he told 




li 'I 


' !■ 

thorn ho was frlglitod.) " — " Woll, what do you say 
to tlicso wltnoHHOs ? Wliat was it frighted you V " — 
" I do Jiot know that over 1 s))oko the word in my 

JJut wliilo liis character retained its manliness, and 
his soul was truly insensible to fear, ho was very 
much oppressed and distressed by his situation. The 
share he had, with two of his sons-in-law, in ))ringing 
his wife into her awful condition, and in driving on 
the public infatuation at the beginning, was more than 
ho could endure to think of, and !io was charged with 
havin<^ meditated suicide. Perhaps ho had already 
formed the purpose afterwards carried into effect, and 
may have dropped expressions, under that thought, 
which to others might appear to indicate a design of self- 
destruction. He was accused of having said that " he 
would make away with himself, and charge his death 
upon his son." His sons-in-law, Crosby and Parker, 
were acting with the crowd that were pursuing him 
to his death. Little did it enter the imagination of 
any one then, that there was a method by which he 
could " make away with himself," leaving the entire 
act of the destruction of his life upon his persecutors, 
and the sin to be apportioned between him and them 
by the All-wise and All-just. 

Abigail Hobbs had been a reckless vagrant creature, 
wandering through the woods at night like a half- 
deranged person ; but she had wit enough to see that 
there was safety in confession. She pretended to 
have committed, by witchcraft, crimes enough to have 

I, * 




hn.u<xo(\ her a dozon times. If slie had stood to her 
conCossiou, we should liavc licard of her no more. 

Bridget liisliop's cxaiiiiiKitioii filled the ir.tervals of 
time while !Mary Warren was beinj:^ carricul out of tho 
mectin<»;-house to reeover from her fits. Hcth Parris 
and Kzekiel Checver took minutes of it, from whieh 
tho 8ul)stance is gathered as follows: — 

On her coming in, the afllictcd persons, at the same 
moment, severally fell into fits, and were dreadfully 
tormented. Jfathornc addressed her, calling upon her 
to give an account of tlu; witchcrafts she was " con- 
versant in." She replied, '" I take all this ])eople to 
witness that 1 am clear." He then asked the chil- 
dren, " ITath this woman hurt you? " They all cried 
out that she had. The magistrate continued, " You 
arc here accused by four or five : what do you say to 
it ? " — "I never saw these persons before nor I 
never* was in this place before. I never did hurt 
them in my life." 

At a meeting of the afllictcd childron and others, 
some one declared that Bridget Bishop was present " in 
her shape" or apparition, and, pointing to a particular 
spot, said, " There, there she is I " Young Jonathan 
Walcot, exasperated by his sister's sufferings, struck at 
the spot with his sword ; whereupon Mary cried out, 
" You have hit her, you have torn her coat, and I heard 
it tear." This story had been brought to Ilathorne's 
ears ; and abruptly, as if to take her off her guard. 

* Tlie double neji;.ative, as often used, merely intensified the nega- 
tion. See " Measure for Measure/' act i. scene 1. 


??;ir| .■:: 





i I 



ho HJiid, "Is not your coiit ('111?" Slio answiMcd, 
*' No." Tlioy tlicii oxiimiiKMl tlic coat, iiiid lound what 
they regarded a.s huviiiji; been "cut or torn two ways." 
It was probably tlio liisliion in whieli the garment was 
made ; Tor she was in the haliit of (h-essing more artis- 
tically than the women of the Villag{\ At any rate, 
it did not appear like a direct cut of a sword; l>ut 
Jonathan got over the dilliculty l>y saying that " the 
sword that he struck at (loody iiisliop was not naked, 
but was within tlie scabbard." This explained the 
whole matter, so that Clieever says, in his report, 
that " the rent may very probably be the very same 
that Mary Walcot did tell that she had in her coat, 
by Jonathan's striking at her appearance"! Parris 
says, with niore caution, more indeed than was usiud 
with him, " Ui)on some search in the Court, a rent, 
that seems to answer what was alleged, was found." 
Ilathornc, having heard the scandals they had cir- 
culated against her, ]»rocceded : " They say you be- 
witched your ."'• t husband to death." — " If it please 
Your Worship, I know nothing of it." — "What do 
you say of these murders you arc charged with ? " 
— "I hope I am not guilty of murder." As she said 
this, she turned up her eyes, probal)ly to give solem- 
nity to her declaration. At the oj)oning of the ex- 
amination, she looked round upon the people, and 
called them to witness her innocence. She had found 
out by this time, that no justice could be expected from 
them ; and feeling, with Rebecca Nurse on a recent 
similar occasion, " I have got nobody to look to but 

a I 

wrrrirrRAFT at vtrj.AfiR. 


God," hUc tiinu'd hvv cyoH liujiveinvard. Instantly, tho 
eyeballH of all tlu; ^irls wen; i'o11»m1 iij» in their socketrt, 
and fixed. The elU^ct was awful, and still more in- 
creased as thoy went, aft(U' a monient or two, into 
dreadfid torments. Hathorne could no longer con- 
tain himself, hut hrokc out, " Do you not see how they 
arc toi mentcd ? You are acting witchcraft heforc us! 
AVhat do you say to this ? Why have you not a heart 
to conftjss the truth?" She calndy replied, "I am 
innocent. J know nothinj^ of it. 1 am no witch. I 
know not what a witch is." The " alllicted children " 
char^cnl her with havin<r ti-iod to persuade them to sign 
the Devil's Ixok. As she had never hefore seen one of 
them, she was indignant at this harefaced falsehood, 
and, as Cheevcr says, "• shook her head " in her resent- 
ment ; which, as he further says, ])ut them all into great 
torments. Parris re[)resents that in every motion of 
her head they were tortured. Marshal Ileri-ick, as 
usual, put in his oar, and volunteered charges against 
her. She bore herself well through the shocking scene, 
and did not shrink, at its close, from expressing her 
unbelief of the whole thing : " I do not know whether 
there be any witches or no." When she was removed 
from the place of examination, the accusers all had 
fits, and broke forth in outcries of agony. After l)eing 
taken out, one of the constables in charge of her asked 
her if she was not troubled to see the afTlicted per- 
sons so tormented ; and she replied, " No." In answer 
to further questions, she indicated that she could not 





tell what to think of them, and did not concern her- 
gelf about them at all. 

Giles Corey, Bridget Bishop, Abigail Ilobbs, together 
with Mary Warren, were duly committed to prison. 

Two days after, April 21, warrants were issued 
" against William ITobbs, husbandman, and Deliver- 
ance his wife ; Nehemiah Abbot, Jr., weaver ; Mary 
Easty, the wife of Isaac Easty ; and Sarah Wilds, the 
wife of John Wilds, — all of the town of Topsfield, or 
Ipswich; and Edward Bishop, husbandman, and Sarah 
his wife, of Salem Village ; and Mary Black, a negro of 
Lieutenant Nathaniel Putnam's, of Salem Village also ; 
and Mary English, the wife of Philip English, merchant 
in Salem." All of them were to be delivered to the 
magistrates for examination at the house of Lieu- 
tenant Nathaniel Ingersoll, at about ten o'clock the 
next morning, in Salem Village ; and were Ijrought 
in accordingly. 

What the i)apers on file enable us to glean of these 
nine persons is substantially as follows : William 
llobbs was about fifty years of age, and one of the 
earliest settlers of the Village, although his icsi- 
dence was on the territory afterwards included in 
Topsfield. His daughter Abigail, of whom I have 
just spoken, appears from all the accounts to have 
acted at this stage of the transaction a most wicked 
part, ready to do all the mischief in her power, and 
allowing herself to be used to any extent to fasten 
the i'.aputatioii of witchcraft upon others. Several 
persons testified that, long before, she had boasted that 


















• ♦ ' 

she was not afraid of any thing, " for she had sold 
herself body and soul to the Old Boy ; " one witness 
testified, that, " some time last winter, I was dis- 
coursing with Abigail Ilobbs about her wicked car- 
riages and disobedience to her father and motlier, 
and she told me she did not care what anybody said to 
her, for she had seen the Devil, and had made a cove- 
nant or bargain with him ; " another, Margaret Knight, 
testified, that, about a year before, " Abigail Ilobbs 
and her mother were at my father's house, and Abi- 
gail Hobbs said to me, ' Margaret, are you baptized ? ' 
And I said, ' Yes.' Then said she, ' My mother is 
not baptized, but I will baptize her ; ' and immediately 
took water, and sprinkled in her mother's face, and 
said she did baptize her ' in the name of the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost.'" 

She was arrested, and brought to the Village, on the 
lOtli of April. The next day, she began her opera- 
tions by declaring that " Judah White, a Jersey maid " 
that lived with Joseph Ingersoll at Casco, " but now 
lives at Boston," appeared to her " in apparition " the 
day before, and advised her to " fly, and not to go to 
be examined," but, if she did go, " not to confess any 
thing: " she described the dress of this " apparition," 
— she " came to her in fine clothes, in a sad-colored 
silk mantle, with a top-knot and a hood." — " She con- 
fesseth further, that the Devil in the shape of a man 
came to her," and charged her to afflict the girls ; 
bringing images made of wood in their likeness with 
thorns for her to prick into the images, which she 

VOL. II. 9 

V •■ 



1 ■{■' ^> 



did : whereupon the girls cried out that tlicy were hurt 
by her. She further confessed, that, " she was at the 
great meeting in Mr. Parris's pasture, when they ad- 
ministered the sacrament, and did eat of the red bread 
and drink of the red wine, at tlic same time." This 
confession cstoWished her credibility at once ; and, 
the next day, tlie warrants were issued for the nine 
persons above mentioned, against whom they had 
secured in her an effective witness. She had resided 
for some time at Casco Bay ; and we shall soon see 
how matters began in a few days to work in that direc- 
tion. There are two indictments against this Abigail 
Ilobbs : one charging her with having made a cove- 
nant with " the Evil Spirit, the Devil," at Casco Bay, 
in 1688 ; the other with having exercised the arts of 
witchcraft upon the afflicted girls, at Salem Village, 
in 1692. 

When her unhappy father was brought to examina- 
tion, he found that his daughter was playing into the 
hands of the accusers ; and that his wife, overwhelmed 
by the horrors of the situation, although for a time 
protesting her innocence and lamenting that she had 
been the mother of such a daughter, had broken 
down and confessed, saying whatever might be put 
in her mouth by the magistrates, the girls, or the 
crowd. Under these circumstances, he was brought 
forward for examination. Parris took minutes of it. 
It is to be regretted, that the paper is much dilapidated, 
and portions of the lines wholly lost. What is left 
shows that the mind of William Hobbs rose superior 

:< t 





to the terrors and powers arrayed against it. The 
magistrate commenced proceedings by inquiring of the 
girls, pointing to the prisoner, " Hath this man hurt 
you ? " Several of them answered " Yes." Goody 
Bibber, wlio seems generally to have been a very 
zealous volunteer backer of the girls, on this occasion, 
for a wonder, answered " Xo." The magistrate, ad- 
dressing the prisoner, " What say you ? Are you 
guilty or not?" — Answer: "I can speak in the pres- 
ence of God safely, as I must look to gv d account 
another day, that I am as clear as a ne\v-b'>rn babe ? " 
— "Clear of what?" — "Of witchcraft." — " Have 
you never hurt these?" — "No." Abigail Williams 
cried out that he " was going to Mercy Lewis ! " 
Whereupon Mercy was seized with a fit. Then Abigail 
cried out again, " He is coming to Mary Walcot ! " 
and Mary went into her fit. The magistrate, in con- 
sternation, appealed to him : " How can you be clear," 
when your appearance is thus seen producing such 
effects before our eyes ? Then the children went 
into fits all together, and " hallooed " at the top 
of their voices, and " shouted greatly." Tlie magis- 
trate then ])rought up the confession ot his wife 
against him, and expostnlated with him for not con- 
fessing ; the afflicted, in the mean while, bringing the 
whole machinery of their convulsions, shrieks, and 
uproar to bear against him : but he calmly, and in 
brief terms, denied it. 

The circle of accusing girls seems to have been a 
receptacle, into which all the scandal, gossip, and 

L' i 


I f!|i 

W '1 ;; i 





M '■ 

"I? ,; 

defamation of the surrounding country was emptied. 
Some one had told them that William Hobbs was not 
a regular attendant at meeting. They passed it on to 
the magistrate, and he put this question to the accused : 
" When were you at any public religious meeting ? " 
He rc])lied, "Not a pretty while." — "Why so?" 

— "Because I was not well: I had a distemper that 
none knows. " The magistrate said, " Can you act 
witchcraft here, and, by casting your eyes, turn follvs 
into fits?" — "You may judge your pleasure. My 
soul is clear." — "Do you not see you hurt these by 
your look ? " — " No : I do net know it." After 
another display of awful sufferings, caused, as they 
protested, by the mere look of Hobbs, the magistrate, 
with triumphant confidence, again put it home to him, 
" Can you now deny it ? " He answered, " I can 
deny it to my dying day." The magistrate inquired 
of him for what reason he withdrew from the room 
whenever the Scriptures were read in his family. He 
plumply denied it. Nathaniel IngersoU and Thomas 
Haynes testified that his daughter had told them 
so. The confessions of his wife and daughter were 
over and over again brought up against him, but to 
no effect. " ^Vho do you worship ? " said the magis- 
trate. "I hope I worship God only." — "Where?" 

— "In my heart." The examination failed to con- 
found or embarrass him in the least. He could not 
be drawn into the expression of any of the feelings 
which the conduct of his graceless and depraved 
daughter or his weak and wretched wife must have 



excited. He quietly protested that he knew iiotliing 
about witchcraft ; and, towards the close, with solemn 
earnestness of utterance, declared that his innocence 
was known to the " great God in heaven." 

He was connnitted for trial. All that the docu- 
ments in existence inform us further, in relation to 
William Hobbs, is that he remained in prison until 
tlie 14th of the next D<, ember, when two of his neigh- 
bors, John Nichols and Joseph Townc, in some way 
succeeded in getting him bailed out ; they giving bonds 
in the sum of two hundred pounds for his appear- 
ance at the sessions of the Court the next month. 
But it was not, even then, thought wholly safe to 
have him come in ; and the fine was incurred. He 
appeared at the term in May, the fine was remitted, 
and he discharged by proclamation. On the 2(3 th of 
Marcli, 1714, he gave evidence in a case of common- 
age rights. He was then seventy-two years of age. 
Of his wife and daughter, I shall again have occasion 
to speak. 

For all that is known of the case of Nehemiah 
Abbot, we are indebted to Hutchinson, who had 
Parris's minutes of the examination before him. 
Hutchinson says, that, of " near an hundred " whose 
examinations he had seen, he was the only one who, 
having been brought before the magistrates, was finally 
dismissed by them. Perhaps even this case was not 
an exception : for a document on file shows that a 
person named Abbot of the same locality was sub- 
sequently arrested and imprisoned ; but unfortunately 






the Christian name has been obliterated, or from 
some eause is wanting. It seems, from Hutcliinson's 
miimtes, that he protested his innocence in manly 
and firm declarations. Mary Walcot testified that she 
had seen liis shape. Ann Putnam cried out that she 
saw him " upon the beam." The magistrates told 
him that his guilt was certainly proved, and that, if 
he would find mercy of God, he must confess. " I 
speak before God," he answered, " that I am clear 
from tins accusation." — "What, in all respects?" 
— "Yes, in all respects." Tiie girls were struck 
w' .1 dumbness ; and Ann Putnam, re-affirming that 
he was the man that hurt her, " was taken wi'h a 
fit." Mary Walcot began to waver in her confidence, 
and Mercy Lewis said, " It is not the man." This 
unprecedented variance in the testimony of the girls 
brought matters to a stand ; and he was sent out for 
a time, while others were examined : — 

" When he was brought in again, by reason of much 
people, and many in the windows, so tliat the accusers 
could not have a clear view of iiini, he was ordered to be 
abroad, and the accusers to go forth to him, and view hira 
in the light, which tliey did in the presence of the magis- 
trates and many others, discoursed quietly with him, one 
and all acquitting him; but yet said he was like that mar, 
but he had not the wen they saw in his apparition. Note, 
he was a hilly-faced man, and stood shaded by reason of his 
own hair ; so that for a time he seemed to some bystanders 
and observers to be considerably like the person the affiicted 
did describe." 





Such is Parris's statement, as quoted by Hutchin- 
son. What was tlic real cause or motive of this dis- 
crepancy among the witnesses does not appear. The 
facts, that at first they went into fits in behohling him, 
were all struck dumb for a while, and Ann Put- 
nam saw him on the beam, were likely to have an 
unfavorable effect upon the minds of the people, and 
threatened to explode the delusion. J3ut Ann, with 
a quickness of wit that never failed to meet any emer- 
gency, when Menjy Lewis said it was not the man, 
cried out in a fit, " Did you put a mist before my 
eyes ? " She conveyed the idea that the power of 
Satan blinded her, and caused her to mistake the 
man. This answered the purpose ; and, although Abbot 
got clear, for the time at least, all were more than 
ever convinced that the Evil One, in misleading Ann, 
had shown his hand on the occasion. 

The examination of Sarah Wildes had no peculiar 
features. The afflicted children and Goody Bibber 
saw her apparition sitting on the beam while she 
was bodily present at the bar, and wei\t througii their 
usual fits and evolutions. Slic maintained her inno- 
cence with dignity an' firmness; and tlie magistrate, 
prejudging the case against her, rebuked her obsti- 
nacy in not confessing, in his accustomed manner. 

No account has come down of the examinations of 
Edward Bishop, or Sarah his wife. He was the third 
of that name, probably the son of the " Sawyer." 
His wife Sarah was a daughter of William Wildes 
of Ipswich, and, it would seem, a sister of John 




Wildes, the examiiiution of wliosc wife has just been 
mentioned, f^onie of tlie evidence indicates tliat she 
was a niece of Rebecca Nurse. Tiiey all belonged 
to that class of persons who, under the general appella- 
tion of " the Topsfield men," had been in sucli frequent 
collision with the people of the Village. Edward 
Bishop was forty-four years of age, and his wife forty- 
one. Tiiey had a family, at the time of their imprison- 
ment, of twelve children. Sarah Bishop had been 
dismissed from tde church at the Village, and rec- 
ommended to that at Topsfield, May 25, 1G90. They 
had land in Topsfield, as well as in the Village, and 
were more intimately connected in social relations with 
the former than the latter place. They elTected their 
escape from prison, and survived the storm. Mary, 
the wife of Philip English, was committed to prison. 
We have no record of her examination. 

Mary Black, the negro woman, belonged to Na- 
thaniel Putnam, but lived in the family of his son 
Benjamin. Her examination shows that she was an 
ignorant but an innocent person. She knew nothing 
about the matter, and had no idea what it all meant. 
To the questions with which the magistrate pressed 
her, her answers were, " I do not know," " I cannot 
tell." The only fact brought out against her besides 
the actings of the girls was this : " Her master saith 
a man sat down upon the form with her about a 
twelvemontii ago." Parris, in his minutes, gives this 
piece of evidence, but does not enlighten us as to its 
import. The magistrate asked her, " What did the man 



say to you ? " Ilor answer was : " Ho said notliinp^." 
This is all they got out of her ; and it is all the li«^ht 
we have on the mysterious fact, that a man was once 
seated, at some time within twelve months, on the 
same form or heneh with poor Mary Black. The 
magistrate asked the girls, " Doth this negro hurt 
you?" They said "Yes." — "Why do you hurt 
them ? " — "I did not hurt them." This question was 
put to her, " Do you prick sticks ? " perhaps the 
meaning was. Do you prick the afflicted children 
with sticks ? The simple creature evidently did not 
know what they vrcre driving at, and answered, " No : 
I pin my neckcloth." The examiner asked her, 
" Will you take out the pin, and pin it again ? " She 
did so, and several of the afflicted cried out that they 
were pricked. Mary Walcot was pricked in the arm 
till the blood came, Abigail Williams was pricked 
in the stomach, and Mercy Lewis was pricked in the 
foot. It is probable, that, in this case, the girls, as 
they often appear to have done, provided themselves 
by concert beforehand with pins ready to be stuck 
into the assigned parts of their bodies, and managed 
to get the queer and unusual question put. The 
whole thing has the appearance of being pre-arranged ; 
and it answered the purpose, filling the crowd with 
amazement, and excluding all possible doubt from the 
minds of the magistrates. Mary was committed to 
prison, where she remained until discharged, in ^h.y, 
1693, by proclamation from the governor. 

Mary Easty, wife of Isaac Easty, and sister of Re- 





1 - 




bccca Nurse and Sarah Cloysc, was ahout fifty-eight 
years of a^^e, and the mother of seven chihh-en. Her 
husl);iiid owned and lived ii[)on a large and vuhiable 
farm, which not many years since was the i)roj)crty 
and country residence of tlie Late lion. B. W. Crown- 
insliiehJ, and is now in the possession of Thomas 
Pierce, Esq. Her examination was accompanied by 
the usual circumstances. The girls had fits, and were 
speechless at times : the magistrate expostulated with 
her for not confessing her guilt, which he regarded 
as demonstrated, beyond a question, by the sulVerings 
of the alllicted. " Would you have me accuse my- 
self?" — "How far," he continued, "have you com- 
plied with Satan ? " — " Sir, I never complied, but 
prayed against him all my days. What would you 
have me do?" — "Confess, if you be guilty." — "I 
will say it, if it was my last time, I am clear of 
this sin." The magistrate, apparently affected by her 
manner and bearing, inquired of the girls, " Are you 
certain this is the woman ? " They all went into fits ; 
and presently Ann Putnam, coming to herself, said 
" that was the woman, it was like her, and she told me 
her name." The accused clasped her hands together, 
and Mercy Lewis's hands were clenched ; she sepa- 
rated her hands, and Mercy's were released ; she in- 
clined her head, and the girls screamed out, " Put up 
her head ; for, while her head is bowed, the necks of 
these are broken." The magistrate again asked, " Is 
this the woman ? " They made signs that they could 
not speak ; but afterwards Ann Putnam and others 



cried out : " O Goody Easty, Goody Easty, you aro 
the woman, you arc the \vo:iiaii ! " — "What do you 
say to this ? " — '• Wliy, God will know." — '^ Nay, God 
knows now." — " I know he does." — " What did you 
think of the actions of others heforc your sisters caino 
out? did you think it was witchcraft?" — "I cannot 
tell." — " Why do you not think it is witchcraft?" 
— "It is an evil spirit; hut whether it he witchcraft 
I do not know." She was committed to prison. 

It will be noticed that seven out of tho nine exam- 
ined at this time either lived in Topsficld or were 
intimately connected with the church and peoi)le there. 
The accusing girls had heard them angrily spoken of 
by the peo[)lo around them, and availed themselves, 
as at all times, of existing prejudices, to guide them 
in the selection of their victim. 

The escape of Abbot, and the wavering, in his case 
and that of Easty, indicated by the magistrates on this 
occasion, alarmed the prosecutors ; and they felt that 
something must be done to stiffen Hathorne and Cor- 
win to their previous rigid method of procedure. The 
following letter was accordingly written to them that 
very day, immediately after the close of the examina- 
tions : — 

" Theti to the Honored John Hathorne and Jonathan Convin, 
Enqrs., living at Salem, present. 

" Salem Village, this 2l8t of April, 1G92. 
"Much IIonot.ed, — After most huiubie and hearty 
thanks presented to Your Honors for the greut care and 
pains you have j.lreudy taken for us, — for which you know 




we are never able to make you rc(;onipen,«c, and we believe 
you (b) not expect it of us ; tberefore a lull reward will be 
given you of tbe Lord God of Israel, wbose cause and in- 
terest you bave espoused (and we trust tbis sliall add to 
your crown of glory in tbe day of tbe Lord .lesiis) : and 
"we — beholding continually tbe trenieiulous works of Divine 
Providence, not only every day, but every boiu* — tbougbt it 
our duty to inform Your Honors of wbat we coiu'cive you 
bave not beard, wbicb are bigb and dreadful, — of a wheel 
within a wheel, at wbicb our ears do tingle. Humbly crav- 
ing continually your prayers atid help in tbis distressed case, 
— so, praying Almighty God continually to prepare you, 
tbat you may be a terror to evil-doers and a praise to them 
tbat do well, we remain yours to serve in wbat we are able, 

" Thomas Putnam." 

AVluit was meant by the " wheel within a wheel," 
the " high and dreadful " things which were making 
their cars to tingle, but had not yet been disclosed 
to the magistrates, wo shall presently see. On the 
30th of April, Captaui Jonathan Walcot and Sergeant 
Thomas Putnam (the writer of the foregoing letter) 
got out a warrant against Philip English, of Salem, 
merchant ; Sarah Morrel, of Beverly ; and Dorcas 
Hoar, of the same place, widow. Morrel and Hoar 
were delivered by Marshal Hcrrick, according to the 
tenor of the warrant, at 11, a.m., May 2, at the house 
of Lieutenant Nathaniel Ingcrsoll, in Salem Village. 
The warrant has an indorsement in these words : 
" Mr. Philip English not being to be found. G. H." 
As the records of the examinations of Philip English 



und his wile liuvo not l)ccii ])rosci'Vod, and only a few 
fra<^iu(Mit.s of the tcstiinony n'latlnti; to their case; are 
to bo Ibinul, all that can bo sai«l is that th(3 j^irls and 
their ac(.'()nij»rK;(!s made their usual charges against 
them. There are two depositions in existence, how- 
ever, which alVord some explanation of the causes that 
exposed Mr. Kiiglish to hostility, and indicate the kind 
of evidence that was brought against him. Having 
many landed estates, in various places, and extensive 
business transactions, he was liable to frerpient (pies- 
tions of litigation. He was involved, at one tim., in 
a lawsuit about the bounds of a piece of laud in 
Marblehead. A person named William Beale, of that 
town, had taken great interest in it adversely to the 
claims of English ; and some harsh words ])assed 
between them. A year or two after the affair, IJealc 
states, " that, as I lay in my bed, in the morning, pres- 
ently after it was fair light abroad in the room," 
" I saw a dark shade," &c. To his vision it soon 
assumed the shape of Philip English. ' On a previ- 
ous occasion, when riding through Lynn to get testi- 
mony against English in the aforesaid boundary case, 
he says, " My nose gushed out bleeding in a most 
extraordinary manner, so that it bloodied a hand- 
kerchief of considerable bigness, and also ran down 
upon my clothes and upon my horse's mane." He 
charged it upon English. These depositions were 
sworn to in Court, in August, 1092, and January, 
1693. How they got there does not appear, as English 
was never brought to trial. All that relates to Mr. 




lii 3 





and his wife may be despatclied at this point. 
On the 6th of May, a warrant was procured at Boston, 
" To the marshal-general, or his lawful deputy," to 
apprelie-id Philip English wherever found within the 
jurisdiction, and convey him to the " custody of the 
marshal of Essex." Jacob Manning, a deputy-mar- 
shal, delivered him to the marshal of Essex on the 
30th of May ; and he was brought before the magis- 
trates on the next day, and, after examination, com- 
mitted to prison. He and his wife effected their 
escape from jail, and found refuge in New York 
until the proceedings were terminated, when they 
returned to Salem, and continued to reside here. 
She survived the shock given by the accusation, the 
danger to which she had been exposed, and the suffer- 
ings of imprisonment, l3ut a short time. They occu- 
pied the highest social position. He was a merchant, 
condu!-ting an extensive business, and had a large 
estate ; owning fourteen buildings in the town, a 
wharf, and twenty-one sail of vessels. His dwelling- 
house, represented in the frontispiece of this volume, 
stood until a recent period, and is remembered by many 
of us. Its site was on the southern side of Essex 
Street, near its termination ; comprising the area be- 
tween English and Webb Streets. It must have been 
a beautiful situation ; commanding at that time a 
full, unobstructed view of the Beverly and Marblehead 
shores, and all the waters and points of land between 
them. The mansion was spacious in its dimensions, 
and bore the marks of having been constructed in the 




best style of elegance, strength, and finish. It was 
indeed a curious and venerable specimen of the do- 
mestic architecture of its day. A first-class house 
then ; in its proportions, arrangements, and attach- 
ments, it would compare well with first-class houses 
now. Mrs. English was a lady of eminent character 
and culture. Traditions to this effect have come down 
with singular uniformity through all the old families 
of the place. She was the only child of Richard 
HoUingsworth, and inherited his large property. The 
Ecv. William Bentley, D.D., in his " Description of 
Salem," and whose daily life made him conversant 
with all that relates to the localiC; of Mrs. English's 
residence, says that the officer came to a])prehend 
her in the evening, after she had retired to rest. He 
was admitted by the servants, and read his warrant 
in her bedchamber. Guards were placed around the 
house. To be accused by the afflicted children was 
then regarded as certain death. " In the morning," 
says Bentley, " she attended the devotions of her 
family, kissed her children with great composure, 
proposed her plan for their education, took leave of 
them, and then told the officer she was ready to die." 
Dr. Bentley suggests that unfriendly feelings may 
have existed against ^Ir. English in consequence of 
some controversies he had been engaged in with the 
town about the title to lands ; that the superior 
style in which his family lived had subjected them 
to vulgar prejudice ; that the existence of this feel- 
ing becoming known to the " afflicted girls " led them 





M; .1 

to cry out against him and liis wife. It may be so. 
They availed tliemselvcs of every such advantage ; 
and particularly liked to strike high, so as the more 
to astound and overawe iho public mind. 

I find no further mention of Sarah Morrel. She 
doubtless shared the fate of those escaping death, — a 
long im})risonment. When Dorcas Hoar was brought 
in, there was a general commotion among the afflicted, 
falling into fits all around. After coming out of them, 
they vied with each other in hea})ing all sorts of accu- 
sations upon the prisoner ; Abigail Williams and 
Ann Putnam charging her with having choked a 
woman in Boston ; Elizabeth Hubbard crying out that 
she was pinching her, " and showing the marks to 
the standers by. The marshal said she pinched her 
fingers at the time." The magistrate, indignantly 
believing the whole, said, " Dorcas Hoar, why do you 
hurt these ? " — "I never hurt any child in my life." 
The girls then charged her with having killed her hus- 
band, and with various other crimes. Mary Walcot, 
Susanna Sheldon, and Abigail Williams said they 
saw a black man whispering in her ear. The spirit 
of the prisoner was raised ; and she said, " Oh, you 
arc liars, and God will stop the mouth of liars ! " The 
anger of the magistrates was roused by this bold out- 
break. " You are not to speak after this manner in 
the Court." — "I will speak the truth as long as I 
live," she fearlessly replied. Parris says, at the close 
of his account, " The afQicted were much distressed 






during her examination." Of course, she was sent to 

Susanna Martin of Amesbury, a widow, was arrested 
on a warrant dated April 30, and examined at the 
Village church May 2. She is described as a short 
active woman, wearing a hood and scarf, plump and 
well developed in her figure, of remarkable personal 
neatness. One of the items of the evidence against 
her was, that, " in an extraordinary dirty season, when 
it was not fit for any person to travel, she came on 
foot " to a house at Newbury. The woman of the 
house, the substance of whose testimony 1 am giving, 
liaving asked, " whether she came from Amesbury 
afoot," expressed her surprise at her having ventured 
abroad in such bad walking, and bid her children make 
way for her to come to the fire to dry herself. Slie 
replied " she was as dry as I was," and turned her 
coats aside ; " and I could not perceive that the soles 
of her shoes were wet. I was startled at it, that she 
should come so dry ; and told her that I should have 
been wet up to my knees, if I should have come so 
far on foot." She replied that " she scorned to have a 
drabbled tail." The good woman who treated Susanna 
Martin on this occasion with such hos})itable kind- 
ness received the impression, as aj)pears by the import 
of her deposition, that, because Martin came into the 
house so wonderfully dry, she was therefore a witch. 
The only inference we are likely to draw is, that she 
was a particularly neat person ; careful to pick her 






I, If! 

way ; and did not wear skirts of the dimensions of 
our times. 

The language reported by this witness to liave been 
used by Susanna Martin created in her, at tiie time, 
vi-ible mortification, a? well as resentment. A writer 
at the period, not by Sixiy means inclined to give a rep- 
resentation favorable to the prisoners, reports her ex- 
pression thus : " She scorned to be drabbled." She 
was undoubtedly a woman who spolf^ her mind freely, 
and with strength of expression, as the magistrates 
found. From this cause, perhaps, she had shocked 
the prejudices and violated the conventional scrupu- 
losities then prevalent, to such a degree as to incur 
much comment, if not scandal. There had been a 
good deal of gossip about her ; and, some time before, 
she had been proceeded against as a witch. But there 
was no ground for any serious charges against her 
character. Like M>*s. Ann Hibbens, perhaps the head 
and front of her offending was that she had more 
wit than her neighbors. She certainly was a strong- 
minded woman, as her examination shows. Two re- 
ports of it, each in the handwriting of Parris, have 
come down to us. They are almost identical, and in 
substance as follows : — 

On the appearance of the accused, many of the wit- 
nesses against her instantly fell into fits. The magis- 
trate inquired of them, — 

" Hath this woman hurt you ? " 

" (Abigail Williams declared that she had hurt her 






often. ' Ann Putnam threw her glove at her in a fit,' and 
the rest were struck dumb at her presence.) 

"What! do yon laugh at it ? said the magistrate. — Well 
I may at such folly. 

" Is this folly to see these so hurt ? — I never hurt man, 
woman, or child. 

' (Mercy Lewis cried out, 'She hath hurt me a j^reat 
many times, and plucks me down.' Then Martin laughed 
again. Several others cried out upon her, and the magis- 
trate a^ain addressed her.) 

" Wiiat do you say to this? — I have no hand in 

" What did you do ? did you consent these should be 
hurt? — No, never in my life. 

" What ails these people ? — I do not know. 

" But what do you think ails them ? — I do not desire 
to spend my judgmerit upon ic. 

" Do you think they are bewitched ? — No : I do not think 
they are. 

" Well; tell us your thoughts about them. — My thoughts 
are mine own when they are in ; but, when they are out, they 
are another's. 

" Who do you think is their master ? — If they be deal- 
ing in the black art, you may know as well as I. 

" What have you done towards the hurt of these ? — I 
have done nothing. 

" Why, it is you, or your appearance. — I cannot help it. 

" How comes your appearunce just now to hurt these ? 
— How do I know ? 

" Are you not willing to tell the truth ? — I cannot tell. 
He that appeared in Samuel's shape can appear in any one's 

< ' ! 





" Do yoii believe these afflicted persons do not say true ? 
— Tliey may lie, for aught I know. 

"May not you lie? — I dare not tell a lie, if it would 
save my life." 

At this point, the marshal declared that " she 
piiiclicd licr hands, and Elizabeth Hubbard was imme- 
diately alllictcd. Several of the afflicted cried out 
that they saw her upon the beam " of the meeting- 
house over their heads ; and there was, nc doubt, a 
scene of frightful excitement. Tiic magistrate, in 
the depth ot his awe and distress, earnestly appealed 
to the accused, " Pray God discover you, if you 
be guilty." Nothing daunted, she replied, " Amen, 
amen. A false tongue will never make a guilty 
person." A great uproar then arose. The accusers 
fell into dreadful convulsio)is, among the rest John 
Indian, who cried out, " Slie bites, she bites ! " The 


magistrate, overcome by the sight of tlicse suffer- 
ings, again appealed to her, " Have not you com- 
passion for these afflicted ? " She calmly and firmly 
answered, " No : I have none." The uproar rose 
higher. The accusers all declared that they saw 
the " black man," Satan himself, standing by her 
side. They pretended to try to approach her, but 
were suddenly deprived of the power of locomotion. 
John Indian attempted to rush upon her, but fell 
sprawling upon tlie floor. The magistrate again ap- 
pealed to her : " What is the reason these cannot 
come near you?" — "I cannot tell. It may be the 
Devil bears me more malice than another." — "Do 

- ! ! 



you not see God evidently discovering you ? " — " No, 
not a bit for tluit." — "All the congregation besides 
thinlc so." — " Let them think what they will." — 
"What is the reason these cannot come to you?" — "I 
do not know but they can, if they will ; or else, if you 
please, I will come to them." — " Wluit was that the 
black man whispered to you ? " — " There was none 
whispered to me." She was committed to prison. 

In the mean while, preparations had been going on 
to bring upon the stage a more striking character, 
and give to the excited public mind a greater shock 
than had yet been experienced. Intimations had been 
thrown out that higher culprits than had been so far 
brought to light were in reserve, and would, in due 
time, be unmasked. It was hinted that a minister 
had joined the standard of the Arch-enemy, and was 
leading the devilish confederacy. In the accounts 
given of the diabolical sacraments, a man in black 
had been described, but no name yet given. As 
Charles the Second, while they were hanging the regi- 
cides, at the Restoration, was looking about for a 
preacher to hang, and used Hugh Peters for the 
occasion ; so the " afflicted children," or those acting 
behind them, wanted a minister to complete the drama- 
tis personce of their tragedy. < His connection with 
the society and its controversies, and the animosities 
which had thus become attached to him, naturally 
suggested Mr. Burroughs. He was then ])ursuing, 
as usual, a laborious, humble, self-sacrificing minis- 
try, in the midst of perils and privations, away 

! i 

k ^^ 



down ill tlie frontier settlements on the coast of 
Maine, and little dreamed of what was brewing, for 
his ruin and destruction, in his former parish at the 
village. This is what Thomas Putnam had iu his 
mhid when he spoke of a " wheel within a wheel," 
and " the high and dreadful " things not* then dis- 
closed that were to make " cars tingle." 

It was necessary to be at once cautious and rapid 
in their movements, to prevent the public from getting 
information which, by reaching the ears of Burroughs, 
might put him on his guard. It was no easy thing 
to secure him at the great distance of his place of resi- 
dence. If he should become apprised of what was going 
on, his escape into remoter and inaccessible settlements 
would have IjafTlcd the whole scliemc. Nothing there- 
fore was done at the village, but the steps to arrest him 
originated at Boston. Elisha Hutchinson, a magis- 
trate there, issued tho proper order, addressed to 
John Partridge of Portsmouth, Field-marshal of the 
provinces of New Hampshire and Maine, dated April 
30, 1692, to arrest George Burroughs, " preacher at 
Wells ; " he being " suspected of a confederacy with the 
Devil." Partridge was directed to deliver him to the 
custody of the marshal of Essex, or, not meeting him, 
was requested to bring him to Salem, and hand Iiim 
over to the magistx'ates there. The " afflicted chil- 
dren " had begun, shortly before, to use his name. 
Abigail Hobbs had resided some years before at 
Casco ; and from her they obtained all the scandal 
she had heard there, or chose to fabricate to suit the 


I -v^ 



purpose of the prosecutors. The way iu which the 
minds of the deluded people were worked up against 
Mr. Burroughs is illustrated in a deposition suhse- 
quently made to this effect : — 

Benjamin Hutchinson testified, that, on the 21st of 
April, 1692, about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, Abi- 
gail Williams told him that she saw a person whom 
she described as Mr. George Burroughs, " a little black 
minister that lived at Casco Bay." Mr. Burroughs 
was of small stature and dark comple> ' n. She gave 
an account of his wonderful feats of strength, said 
that he was a wizard ; and that he " had killed three 
wives, two for himself and one for Mr. Lawson." She 
affirmed that she saw him then. Mr. Burroughs, it 
will be borne in mind, was at this time a hundred 
miles away, at his home in Maine. Hutchinson 
asked her where she saw him. She said " There," 
pointing to a rut in the road made by a cart-wheel. 
He had an iron fork in his hand, and threw it where 
she said Burroughs was standing. Instantly she fell 
into a fit ; and, when she came out of it, said, " ' You 
have torn his coat, for I heard it tear.' — 'Where- 
abouts ? ' said I. ' On one side,' said she. Then we 
came into the house of Lieutenant Ingersoll ; and I 
went into the great room, and Abigail came in and 
said, ' There he stands.' I said, ' Where ? whore ? and 
presently drew my rapier." Then Abigail said, he has 
gone, but " ' there is a gray cat.' Then I said, ' Where- 
abouts ? ' ' There ! ' said she, ' there ! ' Then I struck 
with my rapier, and she fell into a fit; and, when it 





was over, she said, ' You killed her.' " Poor Tliitcli- 
iiisou could not sco the cat he had killed any n)ore 
than JJunoughs's coat ho had torn. Ai)if^{iil ex- 
})lained the mystery to his satisfaction, hy saying that 
the spectre of Sarah Good had come in at the moment, 
and carried away the dend cat. This was all in broad 
daylijxlit ; it being, as Hutchinson tesvified, "about 
twelve o'clock." The same day, " after lecture, in said 
Ingersoll's chamber," Abigail Williams and Mary 
Walcot were present. They said that " Goody IJobbs, 
of Topsfield, had bit Mary Walcot by the foot." Then 
both fell into a fit ; and on coming out, " they saw 
William Hobbs and his wife go both of them along 
the table." Ilulchinson instantly stabbed, with his 
rapier, " Goody Ilobbs on her side," as the two girls 
declared. They further said that the room was " full 
of them," that is of witches, in their apparitions ; then 
Hutchinson and Eleazer Putnam " stabbed with their 
rapiers at a venture." The girls cried out, that they 
" had killed a great black woman of Stonington, and 
an Indian who had come with her : " the girls said 
further, " The floor is all covered with blood ; " and, 
rushing to the window, declared that they saw a great 
company of witches on a hill, and that three of them 
"lay dead" there, — "the black woman, the Indian, 
and one more that they knew not." This was about 
four o'clock in the afternoon. This evidence was given 
and received in court. It shows the audacity witli 
which the girls imposed upon the credulity of a people 
wrought up by their arts to the highest pitch of in- 



sane iiifatiiatloii ; and illustrates a condition of things, 
at that time and phaco, tliat is truly astonishinf]^. 

On the evening before llntchinson was imposed 
upon, as just described, by Abigail Williams and Mary 
Walcot, Ann Putnam had made most astonishing dis- 
closures, at her father's house, in his presence and 
that of Peter Prescott, Robert Morrel, and Ezekiel 
Cheever. An account of the alTair was drawn up by 
her father, and sworn to by her, hi these words: — 

" Thk Dhposition of Ann Putnam, who testlfieth and 
saith, on the 20th of April, 1G92, at evening, she saw the 
apparition of a minister, at whicli she was grievonsly af- 
frighted, and cried out, 'Oh, dreadful, dreadful! here is a 
minister come ! What ! are ministers witches too ? Whence 
came you, and what is your name ? for I will complain of 
you, though you be a minister, if you be a wizard.' Imme- 
diately I was tortured by him, being racked and almost 
choked by him. And he tempted me to write in his book, 
which 1 refused with loud outcries, and said I would not 
write in his book though he tore me all to pieces, but told 
him it was a dreadful thing that he, which was a minister, 
that should teach children to fear God, should come to 
persuade poor creatures to give their souls to the Devil. 
' Oh, dreadful, dreadful ! Tell me your name, that I may 
know who you are.' Then again he tortured me, and 
urged me to write in his book, which I refused. And 
then, presently, he told me that his name was George 
Burroughs, and that he had had three wives, and that he had 
bewitched the two first of them to death ; and that he killed 
Mrs. Lawson, because she was so unwilling to go from the 
Village, and also killed Mr. Lawson's child because he went 

I i 




to tlio eastward with Sir Kdmoti, and preached so to the 
sohlier.s ; and that he had bewitched a great many Hohliers 
to death at the eastward when Sir Kdinon was there ; and 
that he had made Abi;;ail Iloblis a witeh, and several 
witches more. And he has eontinned ever since, by times, 
temptinj^ rne to write; in his boolt, and grievously torturing 
me by beating, pinching, and ahnost choking me several 
times a day. He also told me that he was above a witch. 
He Avas a conjurer." 

Her father and the other persons present made 
oath that they saw and heard all this at the time ; 
that " they beheld her tortures and perceived lier 
hellish temptations by her loud outcries, ' I will not, 
I will not write, though you torment me all the days 
of my life.' " It will be observed that this was the 
evening before Thomas Putnam wrote his letter to 
the majiistrates, preparing them for something " high 
and dreadful " that was soon to be brought to light. 

A similar scene took place not long afterwards, in 
the presence of her father and her uncle Edward, to 
which they also testify. It was thus described by 
her under oath : — 

" The Deposition of Ann Putnam, who testifieth and 
saith, that, on the 8th of May, at evening, I saw the appa- 
rition of Mr. George Burroughs, who grievously tortured 
me, and urged me to write in his book, which I refused. 
He then told me that his two first wives would appear 
to me presently, and tell me a great many lies, but I should 
not believe them. Then immediately appeared to me the 
forms of two women in winding-sheets, and napkins about 




their heads, at which I was <,'reatly aflVi^^'hted ; and they 
turiK'd their faces towards Mr. Hiirr(rtJji;h.s, aiu! lookrd very 
red and an^ry, and tohl him that ho Iiad been a cruel 
man to them, and that their hhtod did cry for vcii;;ean('o 
against him ; an<l also tohl him that they shouhl he clothed 
with white rohes in heaven, when he shoidd be cast into 
hell : and immediately he vanished away. And, as soon as 
he was gone, the two women turned their faces towards 
me, and looked as pale as a white wall ; and told me that 
they were IMr. liurroughs's two fust wives, and that he had 
murdered them. And one of them told me that .she was 
his first wife, and he stabbed her under the left arm, and 
put a piece of sealing-wax on the wound. And she pulled 
aside the winding-sheet, and showed me the place ; and also 
told me, that she was in the house where Mr. Parris now 
lives, when it was done. And the other told me, that Mr. 
Burroughs and that wife which he hath pow, killed her in 
the vessel, as she was coming to sec her friends, because 
they would have one another. And they both charged me 
that I should tell these things to the magistrates before 
Mr. Burroughs' face ; and, if he did not own them, they 
did not know but they should appear there. This morning, 
also, Mrs. Lawson and her daughter Ann appeared to me, 
whom I knew, and told me Mr. Burroughs murdered them. 
This morning also appeared to nie another woman in a 
winding-sheet, and told me that she was Goodman Fuller's 
first wife, and Mr. Burroughs killed her because there was 
some ditlerence between her husband and him." 

This was indeed most extraordinary language and 
imagery to have been used by a child of twelve years 
of age. It is not strange, that, upon a community, 





wliosc fancies and fears had been so long wroiiuiit upon, 
holding tlieir views, the effect was awfully great. The 
very fact that it was a cliild that spoke made her 
declarations seem supernatural. Then, again, they 
were accompanied with such ocular demonstration, 
in her terrible bodily sufferings, that none remained in 
doubt of the truthfulness and reality of what they lis- 
tened to and beheld. It did not enter their imagina- 
tions, for a moment, that there was any deception or 
imposture, or even delusion, on her part. Her case is 
truly a problem not easily solved even now. While 
we are filled with horror and indignation at the thought 
that slic figures as a capital and fatal witness in all 
the trials, it is impossible not to feel that a wisdom 
greater than ours is necessary to fathom the dark mys- 
tery of the phenomena presented by her and her 
mother and other accusers, in this monstrous and ter- 
rible affair. 

These occurrences, happening just before Mr. Bur- 
rouglis was brought to the village as a prisoner, were 
bruited from house to house, from mouth to mouth, 
and worked the people to a state of horrified exaspera- 
tion against him ; and he was met with execration, 
when, on the 4th of May, Field-marshal Partridge ap- 
peared with him at Salem, and delivered him to the 
jailer there. When we consider the distance and the 
circumstances of travel at that time, it is evident that 
the officers charged with the service acted with the 
greatest promptitude, celerity, and energy. Tiie tradi- 
tion is, that they found Mr. Burroughs in his humble 



ii'*" V 




home, }3artaking of his frugal meal ; that ho was 
snatched from the table without a moment's opportu- 
nity to provide for his family, or prepare himself for 
the journey, and hurried on his way roughly, and 
without the least explanation of what it all meant. 
As soon as it was known that he was in jail in Salem, 
arrangements were commenced for his examination. 
The public mind was highly excited ; and it was deter- 
mined to make the occasion as impressive, effective, 
and awe-striking as possible. Another "field-day" 
was to be had. On the 9th of May, a special session of 
the Magistracy was held, — William Stoughton coming 
from Dorchester, and kSamuel Scwall from Boston, to 
sit with Hathorne and Corwin, and give greater 
solemnity and severity to the proceedings. Stoughton 
presided. The lirst step in the proceedings was to have 
a private hearing, in the ])resence of the magistrates 
and ministers only ; and the report of what passed 
there gives proof of what is indicated more or less 
clearly in several passages in the accounts that have 
come down to us in reference to Mr. Burroughs, — 
that he was regarded as not wholly sound in doctrine 
on points not connected with witchcraft, was treated 
with special severity on that account, and made the 
victim of bigoted prejudice among his brethren and in 
the churches. In this secret inquisition, he was called 
to account foi not attending the communion service 
on one or two occasions ; he being a member of the 
church at Roxbury. It was also brought against him, 
that none of his children but the eldest had been 





baptized. What the facts, in tlicse respects, were, it 
is impossible to say ; as we know of them only through 
the charges of his enemies. After this, he was carried 
to the place of public meeting ; and, as he entered the 
room, " many, if not all, the bewitched were grievously 
tortured." After the confusion had subsided, Su- 
sanna Sheldon testified that Burroughs' two wives 
had appeared to her " in their winding-sheets," and 
said, " That man killed them." He was ordered to 
look on the witness ; and, as he turned to do so, he 
" knocked down," as the reporter affirms, " all (or 
most) of the afflicted that stood behind him." Ann 
Putnam, and the several other " afTlicted children," 
bore their testimony in a similar strain against him, 
interspersing at intervals, all their various convulsions, 
outcries, and tumblings. Mercy Lewis had " a dread- 
ful and tedious fit." Walcot, Hubbard, and Sheldon 
were cast into torments simultaneously. At length, 
they were " so tortured " that " authority ordered 
them " to be removed. Their sufferings were greater 
than the magistrates and people could longer endure 
to look upon. The question was put to Burroughs, 
" what he thought of these things." He answered, 
" it was an amazing and humbling providence, but he 
understood nothing of it." Throwing aside all the 
foolish and ridiculous gossip and all the monstrous 
fables that belong to the accusations against him, and 
looking at the only known facts in his history, it 
appears that Mr. Burroughs was a man of ingenuous 
nature, free from guile, unsuspicious of guile in 




others ; a disinterested, humble, patient, and generous 
person. He had suffered much wrong, and endured 
great hardships in life ; but they had not impaired his 
readiness to labor and suffer for others. There was 
no combativeness or vindictivcness in his disposition. 
Even in the midst of the unspeakable outrages he was 
experiencing on this occasion, he does not appear to 
be incensed or irritated, but simply " amazed." To 
have such horrid crimes laid to liim, instead of rousing 
a violent spirit within him, imj)ressed him with a hum- 
bling sense of an inscrutable Providence. There is a 
remarkable similarity in the manner in which Rebecca 
Nurse and George Burroughs received the dreadful 
accusations brought against them. " Surely," she 
said, " what sin hath God found out in me unre])ented 
of that he should lay such an affliction upon me in my 
old age ? " His words are, " It is an humbling provi- 
dence of God." The more we reflect upon this lan- 
guage, and go to the depths of the spirit that suggested 
it, the more we realize, that, in each case, it arose from 
a sanctified Christian heart, and is an attestation in 
vindication and in honor of the sufferers from whose 
lips it fell, that outweighs all passions and prejudices, 
reverses all verdicts, and commands the conviction of 
all fair and honest minds. 

After the " afflicted" had been sent out of the room, 
there was testimony to show that Mr. Burroughs had 
given proof of physical strength, which, in a man of 
his small stature, was sure evidence that he was in 
league with the Devil. Many marvellous statements 




were made to this efTcct, some of the most extrava- 
gant of which he denied. He undoubtedly was a 
person of gi-eat strength. He had cultivated muscu- 
lar exercise and development while an undergraduate 
at Cambridge, and was early celebrated as a gynmast. 
After a while, the accusers and afflicted were again 
brought in. Abigail Hobbs testified that she was pres- 
ent at a " witch meeting, in the field near ^Ir. Parris's 
house," in which Mr. Burroughs acted a conspicuous 
part. Mary Warren swore that " Mr. Burroughs had 
a trumpet which he blew to summon the witches to 
their feasts " and other meetings " near Mr. Parris's 
house." This trumpet had a sound that reached over 
the country far and wide, sending its blasts to Ando- 
vcr, and wakening its echoes along the Merrimack, to 
Cape Ann, and the ultermost settlements everywhere ; 
so that the witches, iioaring it, would mount their 
brooms, and alight, i:: a moment, in Mr. Parris's 
orchard, just to the north and west of the parsonage ; 
but its sound was not heard by any other ears than 
those of confederates with Satan. While the girls were 
giving their testimony, every once in a while they 
would be dreadfully choked, appearing to be in the 
last stages of suffocation and strangulation ; and, com- 
ing to, at intervals, would charge it upon Burroughs 
or other witches, calling them by name ; generally, 
however, confining their selection to persons already 
apprehended, and not bringing in others until meas- 
ures were matured, 
for trial. 

Mr. Burroughs was committed 

^'^'^ I. 


s a 








3 had 

les to 


i over 


ack, to 

yhcrc ; 


onage ; 
s tbaii 
Is were 
c they 
ill the 
id, com- 




il meas- 




The examination of ^Iv. Biirrouglis presented a 
spectacle, all things considered, of rare interest and 
curiosity, — the grave digniiy of tiie magistrates; the 
plain, dark figure of the prisoner ; the half-crazed, half- 
demoniac aspect of the girls ; the wild, excited crowd ; 
the horror, rage, and })allid exasperation of Lawson, 
Goodman Fuller and others, also of the relatives and 
friends of Burronghs's two former wives, as the deep 
damnation of their taking off and the secrets of their 
bloody graves were being brought to light ; and the 
child on the stand telling her awful tale of ghosts 
in winding-sheets, with napkins round their heads, 
pointing to their death-wounds, and saying that "■ their 
blood did cry for vengeance "' upon their murderer. 
The prisoner stands alone : all were raving around him, 
while he is amazed ; astounded at such folly and 
wrong in others, and humbly sensible of his own un- 
worthiness ; bowed down under the mysterious Provi- 
dence, that })ermitted such things for a season, yet 
strong and steadfast in conscious innocence and up- 

To complete the proceedings against Burroughs at 
this time, and raise to the highest point the public 
abhorrence of him, ettective use was made of Deliver- 
ance IIol)bs, the wife of William liobbs, of whom I 
have spoken l)efore. She was first exanuned April 
22. During the earlier part of the proceedings, she 
mri'itaincd her integrity and })rotested her innocence 
in a manner which shows that her self-possession held 
good. But the examination was protracted ; her 

VOL. II. 11 


tg ] 'I. 



strength was cxliaustcd ; the (Icclanitioiis of the ac- 
cusers, their dreadful sufferings, the i)rcjudgment of the 
case against her hy the magistrates, and the comhined 
influences of all the circumstances arouiul her, l)roke 
her down. Her firmness, courage, and truth iled ; and 
she began to confess all that was laid to her charge. 
The record is interesting as showing how gradually 
she was overwhelmed and overcome. IJut while men- 
tioning the names of others whom she pretended to 
have been associated with as witches, she did not speak 
of Burroughs. She referred to those who had been 
brought out before that date, but noi to him. The in- 
tended movement against him had not then been 
divulged. On the 8d of May, the day before he arrived, 
after it was known that officers had been sent to arrest 
him, she was examined again. On this occasion, she 
charged Burroughs with having been present, and 
taken a leading part in witch-meetings, which she had 
described in detail, at her first examination, without 
mentioning him at all. This proves that the confess- 
ing prisoners were apprised of what it was desired 
they should say, and that their testimony was pre- 
pared for them by the managers of the affair. The 
following is one of the confessions made by this woman, 
subsequent to her public examination. I give it partly 
to show what a flood of falsehood was poured iTi)on 
Burroughs, and partly because it will serve as a 
specimen of the stuff of which the confessions were 
composed : — 




^ prc- 


as a 




" The First Exaniixafion of Dd'ucrance Iluhha in Prison. 
— She continued in the tree ju'knowli(l;j;inj:; lierself to be u 
covenant witdi : iind further confesseth .slic was warned to 
a meeting yesterday morning, and that there was present 
Procter and his wife, Goody Nurse, Giles Corey and iiis wife, 
Goody rishop alias Oliver; and Mr. Burroughs was their 
preacher, and pressed them to bewitch all in the village, 
telling them they should do it gradually, and not all at once, 
assuring them they should prevail. He administered the 
sacrament unto them at the same time, witii red bread and 
red wine like blood. She affirms she saw Osburn, Sarah 
Good, Goody Wilds, Goody Nurse : and Goody "Wilds dis- 
tributed the bread ami wine ; and a man in a long-crowned 
white hat sat next the minister, and they sat seemingly at a 
table, and they filled out the wine in tankards. The notic'; 
of this meeting Avas given her by Goody Wilds. Sjie, her- 
self atlirms, did not nor would not eat nor drink, but all the 
rest did, who were there present ; therefore they threatened 
to torment her. The meeting was in the pasture by Mr. 
Parris's house, and she saw when Abigail Williams ran out 
to speak with them ; but, by that time Abigail was come a 
little distance from the house, this exaniinant was struck 
blind, so that she saw not witli whom Abigail spake. She 
further saith, that Goody Wilds, to pi3vail Avith her to sign, 
told her, that, if she would put lier hand to the book, she 
would give her some clothes, and would not afflict her any 
more. Iler daughter, Abigail IIol)bs, being brought in at 
the same time, while her mother was present, was im- 
mediately taken with a dreadful fit ; and her mother, being 
asked Avho it was that hurt lier daughter, answered it was 
Goodman Corey, and she saw him and the gentlewoman of 
Boston striving to break her daughter's neck." 



<, k 

Oil tlio iH3xt diiy, warrants were i)rociircd against 
Gcorgt! Jacol)s, Sr., and his grantl-daughtor, Margaret 
Jacobs. They were forthwith seized and l)ronglit in 
by Constable Josepli Neal, of Salem, whose retnrn is 
as follows: " May 10, 1(»92. Then I apprehended the 
bodies of George Jacobs, Sr., and Margaret, (huightcr of 
George Jacobs, Jr., according to the tenor of the above 
Avarrant." The examinations, on this occasion, were 
held at the house of Thomas Beadle, in tlie town of 
Salem. All the preliminary examinations, so far as 
existing documents show, were either in the meeting- 
house at the village or that of the town ; or at the 
house of Nathaniel Ingersoll at the village, or Tliomas 
Beadle in the town, — Ijoth being inns, or places of 
public entertainment. Beadle's house was on the south 
side of Essex Street, on land now occuj)ied by Nos. 
63 and (jo. The eastern boundary of the lot was forty- 
nine feet from IngersolTs Lane, now Daniels Street. 
Its front on Essex Street was about sixty feet, and its 
depth about one hundred and forty-five feet. What is 
now No. ()f) is on the very spot where Beadle's tavern 
stood ; and Avith the exception of six feet built, as an 
addition, on the eastern side, subsequently to 1733, is 
probably the identical house. The ground now occu- 
pied by No. <)3 was then an open space. It ajjpears by 
bills of expenses brought "against the country," that 
the inn of Samuel Beadle, a brother of Tliomas, was 
also sometimes used for purposes connected with the 
prosecutions. Thomas Beadle's bill amounted to <£58. 
lis. Of?. ; that of Samuel to X21. The latter, being 


ii '' "Sl 


« w 



I being 



near tlic jail, was probably used foi ic entertainment 
of constables and tb.e keeping of t'.^.r horses, as well 
as other incidental purposes connected with the trans- 
portation of prisoners. 

A tradition has long i)revailcd, that the house, still 
standing, of Judge Jonatliau Corwin, at the western 
corner of North and Essex Streets, was used at these 
examinations. One form in which this tradition has 
come down is .•o'tably correct. The grand jury was 
often in session \ do the jury for trials was hearing 
cases in the Oourt-house. There may not have been 
suitable accon^niodations for both in that building. 
Tiie confused sounds and commotions incident to the 
trials Avoul i have l)een annoying to the grand jury. 
The tradition is, that a place was provided and used 
temporarily by that body, in the Corwin house, sup- 
l)osed to have been the spacious room at the south- 
eastern corner. As the investigations of the grand 
jury were not open to the ])ublic, its occasional sittings 
would not be seriously incompatible with the con- 
venience of a family, or detrimental to tlie grounds or 
apartments of a handsome i)rivatc residence. Indeed, 
it would hardly have been allowable or i)racticable to 
have had the examinations 1)cforc the mai>istrates in 
any other than a puldic house. They were always fre- 
quented by a promiscuous crowd, and generally scenes 
of tumultuary disorder. 

George Jacobs, Sr., was an aged man. He is rei)rc- 
sented in the evidence as " very gray-headed ; " and he 
must have been quite infirm, for he walked with two 






8tafTs. Ilis hair was in loiitr, thin, wliito hx'ks ; and, 
as lie was uncoiiunoiily tall ol" stature, ho must hav(3 had 
a voiionihle aspect. Porhaps ho was the " man in a long- 
crowned whitt! hat," referred to hy Deliverance llul)bH. 
The examination shows that his faculties were vigor- 
ous, his bearing fearless, and his utterances strong and 
decided. The magistrates began : " Ifere are them that 
accuse you of acts of witchcraft." — " Well, let us hear 
who are they and what arc they." When Abigail 
Williams testified against him, going through un- 
doubtedly her usual operations, he could not refrain 
from ex})rcssing his contempt for the whole thing by a 
laugh ; cx[)laining it by saying, " Because I am falsely 
accused — your worships all of you, do you think this 
is true ? " They answered, '" Nay : what do you think ? " 
" I never did it." — '' Who did it ? " — " Don't ask me." 
The magistrates always took it for granted that the 
])retcnsions and sufferings of the girls were real, and 
threw upon the accused the responsibility of explaining 
them. They continued : " Why should we not ask 
you ? Sarah Churchill accuseth you. There she is." 
Jacobs Avas of opinion that it was not for him to ex- 
plain the actions of the girls, but for the prosecuting 
party to prove his guilt. " If you can prove that I 
am guilty, I will lie under it." Then Sarah Churchill, 
who was a servant in his family, said, " Last night, 
I was afflicted at Deacon Ingersoll's ; and ^fary Walcot 
said it was a man with two staves : it was mv master." 
It seems, that, after the ])roceeding's against Burroughs 
were over, a meeting of " the circle " took ])lace in the 









evening, at Deacon TnpM'Hoir.s, at whicli tlirn; was a 
r(![)etiti()n of the actin<:,s of the <;irls ; and tliat Mary 
Walt'ot sn^^;j,este(l to (/luuvhill to uccnse lier master. 
Tliis sliows the way in wliicli the (hilnsion was Icept 
iij). Pi'oiiahly, sneii meetings wen; iicld at one honse 
or anotlier in tht; \ iUage, and fresh accusations brougiit 
forward, continually. .Jacobs apjH'aled to tluj nnigis- 
trates, trying to recall them to a sense of fairness. 
" Pray, do not accuse me : 1 am as clear us your wor- 
8hi[)S. You must do right Judgment."' Sarah Churchill 
charged him with having hurt her ; and the magisti'ates, 
pushing her on t(j make further charges, s:iid to her, 
" Did he not appear ou the other side of the river, and 
hurt you? Did not you see him?" She answered, 
" Yes, he did." Then, turning to him, the magistrates 
said, " There, she accuseth you to your face : she ciuir- 
geth you that you hurt her twice." — " It is not ti-uc. 
What would you have me say ? I never wrongcMl no 
man in word nor deed." — " Ts it no harm to afllict 
these ? " — "I never did it." — " ]>ut how comes it to 
be in your api)earance ? " — "The Devil can take any 
likeness." — ''Not without their consent." Jacobs 
rejected tlie imjtutation. " You tax me for a wizard : 
you may as well tax me for a buzzard. 1 have done no 
harm." Churchill said, " I kiu)W vou lived a wicked 
life." Jacobs, turning to the magistrates, said, "■ Let 
her make it out." The magistrates asked her, "• Doth 
he ever })ray in his family?" She replied, "Not un- 
less bv himself." The mauistrates. addressing him : 
" Why do you not pray in your family ? " — "I cannot 



: i; 



I'lMid." — " Well, l)ut you may pray for all tlint. ('an 
you siiy tli(? LohTh l*ray(M' '{ Let us hoar you." 'I'lw; 
.oporfor. Ml". I'airis, says, " IIo iuiss(!(l in scvorul 
parts of it, ami could not iMijxsat It liulit afliM- many 
trials." TIh! ma<iistnites, addrcissinji' licr. said, " Wer(3 
you not IVii'litiMl, Sarah Chundnll, when the rcprc- 
S(Mitation of your master came to you ? " — '* Yes." 
.Jacobs exclaimed, " Well, burn me or han<^ me, I will 
stand in the truth of Christ: I know notliinj^' of it." 
In answer to an incpiiry from the magistrates, he denied 
having done any thing to get his son Oeorge or grand- 
daughter Margaret to " sign the book." 

The ai>pearance of the old man, his intrepid bearing, 
and the stamp of conscious innocence on all he said, 
])rol>ably produced some impression on the magistrates, 
as they did not come to any decision, but adjourned 
the examination to the next day. The girls then 
came down from the village in full force, deter- 
mined to j)ut him through. When he was brought 
in, they accordingly, all at once, "fell into the most 
grievous fits and scrcechings." When they sufiiciently 
came to, the magistrates turned to the girls: "Is this 
the man that hurts you ? " They severally answered, 
— Abigail Williams : " This is the man," and fell into a 
violent lit. Ann Putnam : " This is the man. He hurts 
me, and brings the book to me, and would have me 
write in the book, and said, if I would write in it, 
I should be as well as his grand-daughter." Mercy 
Lewis, after much interruptions by fits : " This is the 
man : he almost kills me." Elizabeth Hubbard : " He 




iiov(M* luii't 1110 till to-iliiy, when lie c;uii(; ujion (lio 
l.ilil(!." M;irv Wiilcot, aftci' iiiucli iiitcrniption l>y fits: 
" Tliis is tlio nijiii : ho uh»mI to cinnc with two stavoH, 
Jiiul Ix'ut IMC witli one of them." Afti'r iill tiiis, tho 
iii!i<^istnites, thiiikiiij;' ho eoiihl deny it no h)n^'er, turn 
to him, '' Wiiiit do you say 'i Aio you not a witch ? " 
" No : I iviiow it not, il" I were to dio prosently." McM'cy 
Lewis advanced towards liim, hut, as soon as sho got 
near, " foil into groat fits." — " Wliat do you say to 
this?" cried tlio magistrates. '' Wiiv, it is (also. I 
know not oi' it any iiioro than tlio chihl that was horn 
to-nigl»t." Tlio reporti.T says, "• Ann I*utnain and 
Ahigail Williams had (,>ach of tiiem a pin stuck in 
tlioir hands, and tlu-'y said it was this old Jacohs." 
He was committod to j»rison. 

Tho following piece of evidence is among tho loose 
papers on file in the clerk's oHice : — 

" TuK Dkpositiov of Sahah Ik(;ki{.soll, a^cd ahoat 
tliirty years. — Saitli, that, seeing Sarah Churclull after her 
examination, she came to me crying and wringing her 
hands, aeemingly to bo mnch troubled in spirit. I asked 
her what she ailed. She answered, she had undone her- 
self. 1 asked her in what. She said, in belying herself and 
others in saying she had set her hand to tiie Devil's book, 
Avhereas, she said, she never did. I told her I believed sho 
had sot her hand to the book. She answered, crying, and 
said, ' No, no, no : I never, I never did.* I asked iier then 
what made her say siie did. She answered, because they 
threatened her, and told her they would put her into tlio 
dungeon, and put lier along with M Burroughs ; and thus 


\yr i I 

i i 



several times slie followed me up and down, telling nie that 
she hiid untlone herself, in belvin'jr herself and others. I 
asked her wiiy she did not deny she wrote it. She told me, 
because she had stood out so long in it, that now she durst 
not. She sai<l also, that, if she told IMr. Noyes hut once 
she liad set her hand to the book, he Avould Ijelieve her ; but, 
if she told the trutii, and said she had not set her hand to the 
book a hundred times, he would not believe her. 

" Sauaii Inoersoll." 

This paper has also the signature of " Aim An- 

This ineidont probably occurred during the exami- 
nation of Oeorgc Jacol)s ; and the bitter compunction 
of Churchill was in consequence of the false and ma- 
lignant course she had been i)ursuing agahist her old 
master. It is a relief to our feelings, so far as she is 
regarded, to suppose so. Bad as her conduct was as 
one of the accusers, on other occasions after I am 
sorry to say as w^cll as before, it shows that she was 
not entirely dead to humanity, but realized the iniquity 
of which she had been guilty towards him. It is the 
only instance of which wo find notice of any such a 
remnant of conscience showing itself, at the time, 
among those perverted and dej)raved young j)ersons. 
The reason, why it is probable that this exhibition of 
Cburchiirs i)enLtential tears and agonies of remorse 
occurred inunediately after the iirst day of Jacobs's 
examination, is this. It was one of the first, if not 
the first, held at the liouse of Tliomas l]eadle. Sarah 
IngersoU would not have been likely to have fallen in 








witli licr clscwlicre. It h evident, from tlic tenor and 
pur{)ort of tlie doeument. that the de})onent was not 
entirely earriod away l)y tlic prevalent delnsion, and 
j)rol)ahly did ncjt foHow nj) th(,' ])roeeedings generally. 
But it was ;|(iite natural that her attention should 
* have l)(^en called to [»i'oe(.'edin<i;s of interest at IJcadle's 
house, j)artieularly on that first occasion. She lived 
in the immediate vicinity. The indorsement by Ann 
Andrews, the daughter of Jacohs, increases the pi'ob- 
ability that the occurrence was at his examination. 

The representatives of the family of John Ingei'soll, 
— a brother of Deacon Nathaniel Ingersoll, — in 1(192, 
occu})ied a series of houses on the west side of Dan- 
iels Street, leading from Essex Street to the harbor. 
The widow of John's son Nathaniel lived at the corner 
of Essex and Daniels Streets ; the next in order was 
the widow of his son John ; tlie next, his daughtcn- 
Ruth, wife of Richard Rose; the next, the widow of 
his son Richard ; the last, his son Samuel, whose house 
lot extended to the M-ater. Sarah, the witness in this 
case, was the wife of Samuel, and afterwards became 
the second wife of Philip English. One of her chil- 
dren appears to have married a son of Beadle. Their 
immediate j>roxiniity to the l)eadle house, and conse- 
quent intimacy with his I'amily, led them to become 
conversant with what occurred there ;\ind Sarah Inger- 
soll was, in that way, likely to meet Churchill, and to 
have the C(jnversation with her to which she deposes. 

This brief dej)Osition of Sarah ingersoll is, in many 
particulars, an imjiortaiit and instructive jjajicr. it 







exhibits incidentally the means employed to keep the 
accusing girls and confessing witnesses from falling 
back, and, by overawing them, to i)rcvent their acknowl- 
edging the falseness of their testinKjiiy. It shows how 
difliciilt it was to obtain a hearing, if they were dis- 
l)Osed to recant. It j)resents Mr. Noycs — as all along 
there is too much evidence C(jmpelling us to admit 
— acting a part as bad as that of Parris ; and it dis- 
closes the fact, that ^Iv. Burroughs, although not yet 
brought to trial, was immured in a dungeon. 

No papers arc on file, or have l)een obtained, in 
reference to the examination of Margaret Jacol)s, which 
was at the same time and ])lace with that of her grand- 
father. We shall hear of her in subsequent stages of 
the transaction. 

On the same day — ^lay 10 — that Oeorge and Mar- 
garet Jacobs were apj)rehended and .:amined, a war- 
rant was issued against John Willard, " husbandnum," 
to be brought to Tiiomas JJeadle's house in Salem. 
On the 12th, John Putnam, Jr., constable, made return 
that he had been to " the iiouse of the usual al)ode of 
John Willard, and niade search for him, and in several 
other houses and places, but could not find him ;" and 
that " his relations and friends " said, '' ihat, to their 
best knowledge, he was fled." On the loth, a warrant 
was issued to the marshal of Essex, and the constables 
of Salem, " or any other marshal, or marshaTs constable 
or constables within this their majesty's colony or terri- 
tory of the Massachusetts, in New England," re(iuiring 
them to apprehend said Willard, '' if he may be found 



1 TO 
1 ( o 

in your precincts, mIio stands cliargod with sundry 
acts of witchcraft, hv Ijini done or committed on the 
bodies of J>niy Wilkins, and Samuel AN'ilkins, the son 
of Henry Wilkins," and others, upon complaint made 
"by Thomas Fuller, Ji'., and Benjamin Wilkins, Sr., 
yeomen ; who, being found, you are to convey from 
town to town, from constable to constable, ... to 
be prosecuted according to the dii-ection of Constable 
John rutnani, of Salem Tillage, who goes with the 
same."' On the l(Sth of ^lay, Constable Putnam 
brought in Willard, and delivered him to the magis- 
trates. He was seized in (Jroton. There is no record 
of his examination; but we gather, from the papers 
on fde, the following facts relating to this interesting 
case : — 

It is said that Willard had been called u])on to aid 
in the arrest, custody, and bringing-in of persons ac- 
cused, acting as a de})uty-constable ; and, from his 
observation of the de[>ortment of the jtrisoners, and 
from all he heard and saw, his sympathies l)ecame 
excited in their behalf; and he expressed, in more or 
less unguarded terms, his disapprobation of the ])ro- 
ccedings. He seems to have considered all hands 
concerned in the business — accusers, accused, magis- 
trates, and people — as alike bewitched. One of the 
witnesses against him deposed, that he said, in a " dis- 
course " at the house of a relative, " I Fang them : they 
are all witches."" ]n consecpience of this kind of 
talk, in which he indulged as early as April, he in- 
curred the ill-will of the parties engaged in the })rose- 








cutions ; and it -was wliispcrod altoiit tliat lie was 
liimself ill tli(3 diabolical confederacy. lie was a 
grandson of liray AVillcins; and tlu^ mind of the old 
man hccame prejudiced a<j,aiiist liini, and most of his 
family connections and neighbors partook of the feel- 
ing. Wlien Willard discovered that sucli inimors were 
in circulation against him, he went to his grand- 
father for counsel and tlie aid of his })rayers. lie 
met with a cold receijtion, as api)ears l>y the dej)ositioii 
of the old mau as follows : — 

"When John Willard was fh-st coniidained of by the 
afflicted persons for afflicting of thorn, lie came to my house, 
greatly tronl)led, desiring me, w iih some other neighbors, to 
pray for him. I told him I wa^ ilifii going from home, and 
could not slay ; but, if I could come home before niglit, I 
should not be unwilling?, rmt it was near niijbt before J came 
liome, and so I did not answer his desire ; but I heard no more 
of him upon that account. VViiellier my not answering his 
desire did not offend him, I cannot tell; but I was jealous, 
afterwards, that it did." 

W. ' ■•'■\ soon after made an engagement to go to 
Boston, oil election-week, with Henry Wilkins, Jr. A 
sou of said Henry Wilkins, named Daniel, — a youth 
of seventeen years of age, who had heard the stories 
against Willard, and believed them all, remonstrated 
with his father against going to Boston witli Willard, 
and seemed much distressed at the thought, saying, 
among other things, " It were well if the said Willard 
were hanged." 

Old Bray Wilkins must go to election too ; and so 



,Xmff.^ .. '• 







started off on horseback, — llie only '.!<"dc of iiavel 
then ])i'actical)lc from Will's Hill to Wi;»;u'siniil Fer"} , 
— with his wife on a i)illi()n behind him. lie was eiglity- 
two years of age, and she jirohahly not Miich less ; for 
sh'^ had been the wife of his yonth. The old couple 
undoubtedly had an active time that week in Boston. 
It was a great occasion, and the whole country flocked 
in to partake in the ceremonies and services of the 
aninvcrsary. On Election-day, witli Ids wife, he i-ode 
out to Dorchester, to dine at the house of his " brother. 
Lieutenant Richard AVay." Deodat Lawson and his 
new wife, and several more, joined them at table. J'e- 
forc sitting down, Henry Wilkins and John AVillard 
also came in. Willard, ])erhai)S, did not feel very 
agreealdy towards his grandfather, at the time, for 
havinix shown an unwillinu'iicss to pray vvi^h him. The 
ohi man either saw, or imagined he saw, a v(M'y un- 
pleasant expression in Willard't <^;ouide''.ance. "To 
my apprehension, he looked aftev .-^ich r. sort u})on me 
as 1 never before discerned in .-uy.'' The long and 
liard travel, the fatigues and excitements of t lection- 
Aveek, were too much for the old man, iough und rugged 
as he was ; and a severe attack of .1 complaint, to which 
persons of his age are often subject, came on. He 
experienced great sufferings, and, as he expressed it, 
" was like a man on a rack." 

" I told my wife immediately that I Wit.s afi'uid tliat AVillard 
had done me ^^'rong ; my pain continuing, and finding no re- 
lief, my jealousy continued. ]Mr. Lawson and otlit r.s tliere 
were all amazed, and knew not what to do lor me. There was 




lit :l . f I ; 

h ; 


a Avonian accoiiuted skilful came hoping to help me, and after 
she had used means, she asked me whutluT none of those 
evil persons had done me damage. I said, I could not say 
they had, but I was sore afraid they had. She answered, 
she did fear so too. . . . As near as 1 remember. I lay in 
tills case tiiree or four davs at IJostou, and afterward, with 
the jeopardy of my life (as I thought), I came home." 

Oil his retiini, lie I'ohihI liis grtuidsoii, the siunc 
Daniel wluj had warned Ileiuy AVilkiiis against going 
to Boston with John Willard, on his death -bed, in 
great siilTering. Another attack of his own malady 
came on. There was great consternation in the neigli- 
l)orliood, and tliruiigliont the village. The Devil and 
liis confederates, it was thought, were making an awful 
onshmght upon the people at Will's Hill. Parris and 
others rushed to the scene. Mercy Lewis and Mary 
Walcoi, were carried up to tell who it was that was he- 
Avitching old Bray, and young Daniel, and others of the 
"Wilkinses Avho had caught the contagion, and were 
cxi)eriencing or imagining all sorts of l)odily ails. 
They were taken to the room where Daniel was aj)- 
proaching his death-agonies ; and they both afllrmed, 
that they saw the spectres of old Mrs. ]]ucklcy 
and John Willard " upon his throat and upon his 
breast, and pressed him and choked him ; " and the 
cruel operation, they insisted ui)on it, contiimcd until 
the bov died. The girls were carried to the bedroom 
of the old man, who was in great suffering; and, when 
they entered, the question was i)ut by the anxious and 
excited friends in the chamber to Mercy Lewis, whether 



i < 

she saw any tliiim'. She said, 

es : tliey are 



lor John W'ilhird." Presently she pretended to have 
cauiilit siulit of his a))|>ariti()ii, aii<l exchunied, "There 
he is iijK)ii liis urandratiier's helly." This was thought 
wonderrul indeed ; I'or, as ih.e old man says in a ih'po- 
sition lie drew np al'tcn-wards, '' At that linie 1 was in 
grievous pain in the small of my Ixdly." 

Mrs. Ann Putnam had her story to tell about .lohn 
Willard. Jts suhstanee is seen in a dej)osilion drawn 
up altout the time, and is in the same vein as her 
testimony in other cases; presenting a prol)lem to 
be solved by those who can draw the line between 
semi-insane halhiciiuition and downright fabrication. 
Her denosition is as follows : — 

" Tliat tlie shape of Samuel Fuller and Lydia Wilkins 
this day fold ine at my own house by the bedside, who ap- 
peared in wiiuling-sheets, that, if I did not go and tell Mr. 
Ilathorno that John Willard had murdered them, they would 
tear me to pieces. I knew them when they were Hviiig, and 
it Avas exactly their resemblance aiul shape. And, at the 
same time, the apparition of John Willard told nu; that he 
had killed Suuuiel Fuller, J^ydia Wilkius, Goody Shaw, and 
Fuller's second wife, and Aarou Way's child, and J>en Fuller's 
child ; and this deponent's child Sarah, six weeks old ; and 
Philip Kiught's child, with the help of William lEobbs ; ami 
Jonathan Knight's child and two of Ezekiel Cheevcr's child- 
ren with the help of William Ilohhs; Anne Eliot and 
Isaac Ni(diols with the help of William Hobbs ; and that if 
Mr. Ilathorue would not believe them, — that is, Samuel 
Fuller and Lydia W^ilkins, — jterhaps they would appear to 

VOL. II. lU 




\ ' ! 

the majristratcs. J()sc])li Fuller's apparition the same day 
also caiiu! to inc, and told mo that (ioody Corey had killed 
hin». 'i'lic sp(!ctrc! aloresaid told me, that vi'ii^rt'ancc, ven- 
geance, was (M'icd hy said Fuller. This relation is true. 

" Ann 1'ltxam." 

It a]»])OiU's by such pajjors as arc to bo Ibuinr relating 
to Willard's case, that a coroner's jury was held over the 
bodv of Daniel Wilkins, of which Nathaniel Putnam 
was Ibi-enuin. Jt is much to be regretted that the 
finding of that jury is lost. It would be a real 
curiosity. That it was very decisive to the jwint, 
aftirmod by Mercy Lewis and ]\rary Walcot, that Daniel 
was choked and strangled l)y the spectres of John 
Willard and (Joody Buckley, is ap})arent from the 
manner in which IJray Wilkins s})eaks of it. In an 
argument between him and some persons who were 
ex})ressing their confidence that John Willard was an 
innocent man, lie sought to relieve himself from re- 
sponsibility for Willard's conviction by saying, "It 
was not 1, nor my son Ijcnjamin Wilkins, but the 
testimony of the alliicted persons, and the jury con- 
cerning the murder of my grandson, Daniel Wilkins, 
that wMJuld take away his life, if any thing did." Mr. 
Parris, of course, was in the midst of these proceedings 
at Will's llill; attended the visits of the afllictcd girls 
when they went to ascertain wlio were the witche? 
murdering young Daniel and torturing the old man ; 
was present, no doubt, at the solenm examinations and 
investigations of the sages who sat as a jury of inquest 








nan ; 





over thu I'orinur, and, in all likelihood, made, as 
usual, ;i writt(3n nqtort of tlu; sanu'. As soon as ho 
U'ot hack to his liouso, he discharged Ids mind, and 
indorsed the verdict of the coroner's jury hy this 
characteristic insiM'tion in his church-recor<ls : " r>:in : 
AVilkins. JJewitched to <lea(h." The verv next 
entry relates to a case of which Ihis oltituary line, in 
!Mr. l*ari'is's church-hook, is the only intimation that 
has come down lo us,"- Daughter to Ann Douglas. I>y 
Avitchcraft, 1 douht not," Willard's cxanunation was 
at I>eadle's, on the ISth. With this deluge of accusa- 
tions and tempest of indignation Iteating u})on him, ho 
had but little chance, and was committed. 

AVhile the marshals and constables were in j»ursuit 
of Willard, the time was well improved by the jjrosc- 
cutors. On the 12tli of May, warrants -were issued to 
aj)})rebend, and bring "forthwith" before the magis- 
trates sitting at IJeadle's, " Alice Parker, lla^ wiie of 
John I'arkcr of Salem; and Ann Pudeator of Sahnn, 
widow." Alice, commonly called Elsie, Parker Avas 
the wife of a mariner. We know but little of her. 
We have a deposition of one woman, Martha Dutch, 
as follows : — 

" This deponent testified and saitli, that, about two years 
last past, John Jannan, of Salem, coniiiiii' in from sea, I 
(this deponent and Alice Parker, of Salem, lioth of ns stand- 
ing together) said nuto her, ' What a great mercy it was, for 
to see them come home well ; and throagli mercy,' I said, 
'my hnsbaud had gone, and come home well, many times.' 
And I, this deponent, did say unto the said Parker, that ' I 




It i 

i/ I 




(lid hope lie would come liomo this voyii;^u wcdl also.' And 
tlu! said Parker mado iinswer iiiifo mo, and said, ' \o : iic\ cr 
luofc ill tliis world.' 'I'lic wliicli eainu to pass as slu; tlicii 
told luc ; for he died abroad, as I cerlaiidy hear." 

Perhaps Piukcn* had inlormatiou wlTudi had not 
reached the eacs oi' Dutch, or .she may have been 
prone to take niclanclioly views of the dangers to 
which seafaring peojde are exposed. It was a strange 
kind of evidence to be admitted against a j)erson in a 
trial for witchcraft. 

Samuel Siiattuck, who lias been mentioned (vol. i. 
p. lit-)) in connection with IJridget IJishop, had a 
long story to tell about Alice Parker. He seems to 
have been very active in getting uj) charges of witch- 
craft against persons in his neighborhood, and on the 
most absurd and frivolous grounds. Parker had 
made a friendly call upon his wife ; and, not long after, 
one of his children fell sick, and he undertook to 
suspect that it was " under an evil hand." In simi- 
lar circumstances, he took the same grudge against 
Ih-idget Dishop. Alice Parker, hearing that he had 
been circulating suspicions to that effect against her, 
went to his house to remonstrate ; an angry alter- 
cation took place between them ; and he gave his 
version of the afiair in evidence. There was no one 
to present the other side. But the whole thing has, 
not only a one-sided, but an irrelevant character, in no 
wise bearing upon the point of witchcraft. All the 
gossip, scandal, and tittle-tattle of the neighborhood 
for twenty years back, in this case as in others, was 

wrrcnciiAFT at salkm villa(5K 


ii> a 

(11 no 

raked up, and allowt'd lo he iiddiu'cd, however utterly 
remote IVom the (juestioiis heloMjiini^: to the Iriid. 

The toiIowiu<>; niii<z;ular piece of testiuioiiy ii^idiist 
Alice i'arker may l»e mentioned. John \Vest;;a(e was 
at Samuel iJeaille's lavei-n one niiiht with l)oon com- 
j)ainons ; anionu" tlu;m .lolin Paikcr, the iiushand of 
Alic(!. She disap|)r()ve(l of her hushand's s|)endin,u' his 
evening's in such company, and in a har-rooni ; anil 
felt it necessary to |»ut a slop lo il, if slu^ could. 
West<iate says that slu; "came into Ihe company, and 
scolded at ami called her husband all to nou«i,ht ; 
whereupon 1, the said dejjonent, took her hnsltand's 
part, ttdling her it was an unlieseendnu' thing" lor lier to 
come after him to the tavern, and rail after that rate'. 
AVith that she came up to me, and called me rogue, 
and hid nie mind my own business, and told me 1 had 
hetter have said nothing." Ife goes on to stale, that, 
returning home one niuht some time afterwards, he ex- 
pcrienced an awful fright. " (Joing from the house of 
Ml'. Daniel King, when I came over against John 
Robinson's house, I heard a great noise ; . . . and there 
appeared a black hog running towards me with open 
mouth, as though he would have devoured me at that 
instant time." In the extremity of his terror, \\v. tried 
to run away from the awfid monster: but, as might 
have been expected under the circumstances, he tum- 
bled to the ground. "• I fell down upon my hip, and my 
knife run into my hip uj) to the haft. When l came 
home, my knife was in my sheath. When J drew it 
out of the sheath, then inunediately the sheath fedl all 










^ ^ 


■ 2.2 








m i U 116 







WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(716) 873-4503 





^X. ^\ 





to pieces. " And furtlier tliis (lei)()iieiit testifietli, tliiit, 
al'((M- lie ixot up from his iall, liis stocking' and shoe 
was full of )»lo(jd, and that he was forced to crawl 
ah)iig hy tlu; fence all the way home; and the hog fol- 
lowed him, and n(!ver left him till he came home. He 
fiirtliei' stated that he was accompanieil all the way l)y 
his " stout dog," whicii ordiiiarily was much inclined 
to attaciv and " worry hogs," hut, on tliis occasion," ran 
away IVom him, leaping over the fcmce and crying 
much." \n view of all these things, Westgate con- 
cludes his testimony thus: "Which hog J then ap- 
ju'chonded was either the Devil oi" some evil thing, 
not a real hog; and did then really judge, or determine 
in my mind, that it was cither Goody Parker or hy her 
means and })rocuring, fearing that she is a witch." 
The facts were prol)al)ly these: The sheath was hroken 
by his fall, his skin bruised, and some blood got into his 
stocking and shoe. The knife was nevor out of the 
sheath until he drew it ; there was no mystery or witch- 
craft in it. Nothing was ever more natural than the 
conduct of the dog. When he saw Westuate friiihtencd 
out of his wits at nothing, trying to run as for dear 
life when there was no pursuer, staggering and pitch- 
ing along '•» a zigzag direction with very eccentric 
motions, falling heels over head, and then crawling 
along, holding himself up by the fence, and all the 
time looking back with terror, and periia})S attempting 
to express his consternation, the dog could not tell 
what to make of it ; and ran off, as a dog would be 
likely to have done, jumping over the fences, barking, 





and littering tlio usual canine ejaculations. Dous 
syin|tatliize with their masters, and, it' tlicn; is a Irolic 
or other acting going on, are fond of joining in it. 
The wiiole thing was in conse(|Ucncc of Westgate's not 
having profited hy Alice Parivcr's relinke, and dis- 
continued his visits l)y night to iJeadle's hai-r(»oni. 
The only reason why he saw tlie " hlack hog with tlie 
ojien mouth,"' and th(3 dog did not see it, and therefore 
failed to come to his protection, was hecausc he had 
heen driniving and the d(»g liad not. 

We jnid among the ]»aj)ers relating to tlu.'se trans- 
actions many other instances of this kind of testimony : 
sounds heard and siuhts seen bv persons u'oing home 
at night through woods, :ti't'.)v having spent tlie evening 
under th(j hewihlering intluences of talk ahout witches, 
k^atan, ghosts, and spectres; sometimes, as in this case;, 
stimuhited hy other causes of excitement. 

Pt!rhai)s some persons may he curious to know the 
route l»y which Westgatc made out to reach his iiome, 
while pursued l)y the horrors of that midnight experi- 
ence, lie seems to have froiuented Samuel IJeadle's 
l)ar-room. That old Xarragansett soldier owned a lot 
on the west side of St. iVter's Street, occupying the 
southern corner of what is now Church Street, which 
was oi)ened ten years afterwards, tiiat is, in ITOii, by 
the name of Kjjps's Lane. On that lot his tavern stood. 
lie also owned one-third of an acre at tiie ])resent cor- 
ner of Hnnvn and St. Peter's Streets, on which he had 
a stable and barn ; so that his grounds were on botii 
sides of St. Peter's Street, — one parcel on the west, 



nearly (»|i|if)sltc tlio prosoiit front of tlie cluircli : tho 
olluu* on tlio cast si«le of St. Peter's Strec't, opposite 
tlic sontli si(l(.' of tlio {'luii'cli. From this l(H.'alitv 
Wcstjrate started. Ife proUalily did not '^o down 
IJrown Street, for tliat was then a, dark, uidVctiuented 
lane, l)ut tlionuht it safest to uet into Essex Street. 
Ife made his way alon^' that street, ]»assin.u' the (jnn- 
nion, the sonthcrn side of which, at that time, with the 
exception of some honstvlots on and eonti,u,uons to 
the site of the Franklin l>nildinii% hordei-ed on Essex 
Street. The casnalty of his fall : the catastrophe to 
his hip. stocklnu', and shoe ; and the witchery practised 
upon his knife and its sheath, — occurred ^ over a<iainst 
John llobinson's honse," which was on the eastern 
corner of Pleasant and Essex Streets. Christopher 
liahbai^e's house, from which he thon<iht the "• ureat 
noise " came, was next beyond llobinson's. Jle crawled 
alon<^ the fences and the sides of the houses until he 
reached the i)assai>'e-wav on the western side of Th(»mas 
Ueadle's lunise, and throuuh that manaji'ed to net to 
his own honse, which was directly south of said ]>ea- 
dle\s lot, between it and the harbor. 

There is one item in reference to Aliei; l^^rker, 
which indicates that the zeal of the prosecutors in 
her ciise, as in that of ^fr. Ihirrouuhs, and ]»erhaps 
others, was airgravated by a suspicion that she was 
heretical on some j)oints of the ])revalent creed of the 
day. l\irris says that " ^fr. Noyes, at tho time of her 
examination, aPinned to her face, that, he beinu' with 
her at a time of sickn(?ss, discoursing with her about 








witclu'raft. wliellicr slio wore not LMiilty, sli(3 !tn- 
sworcd, ' ir slio was iis froo from otlici- sins as IVoin 
witclicral't, slio would not ask of llio Lord inrrcy.' " 
The luaniuM" of expression in tliis passaiit; sliows that 
it was tlioii^lit that thoi-e was s(nnethiii<^' very shoeUiiit;' 
in her answer. ^Ir. Xoyes ''aninned to lier face." 
No doiil»t it was tliouu'ht that she. (U'niod th(! doctrine 
of original and transmitted, or inii»ul('il sin. 

Ann INnh'ator ( prononnet'd Pud-e-tor) was Ihf widow 
of.Iaeoh I*udeator, and prohaldy ahout seventy years of 
age. The name is spelt variously, and was oriuinally, as 
it is sonn^tinies found, Poindexter. She was a woman 
of property, ownini!; two estates on the north lin(; of the 
Common ; that on which she lived comjtrised what is 
between Oliver and Winter Streets. She was aiiested 
and hrouii'ht to examination on the I'Jth of ^Fay. 
There is u-ronnd to conclude, from the tenoi- of the 
documents, that she was then discharged. Some peo- 
])le in the town were determineil to gratify their sph^en 
against her, and procured her re-arrest. The; (exami- 
nation took })lace on the :^d of .July, and she was tluMi 
committed. The evidence was, if possihh;, more 
frivolous and absurd than in other cases. The girls 
acted their usual parts, giving, on this occasion, a par- 
ticularly striking exhii)ition of the transmission of 
the diabolical virus ont jf themselves back into the 
witch by a touch of her body. " Ann I'utnam fell into 
a fit, and said Pudeator was conuuand(3d to take her 
by the wrist, aiul did ; and said Putnam was well pres- 
ently, ^[ary Warreu fell into two fits ([uickly, after 





V.<' • I 

oiiu another; aiid both times was helped l)y said 
I*iuh'a1or's taiviii^- lier hy the; wrist." 

W'lieii well acted, (his must have been one of the 
most improssivo and eU'ective of all tho mc!th(j(ls em- 
ployed in lhes(; porlormanees. To see a youn^' woman 
or ^irl suddenly struck down, speechless, j)aUid as in 
death ; with nuiscles ri^zid, eyeballs fixed or rolled back 
in their sijckets ; the stil'l'ened frame either wholly prcjs- 
trate or drawn up into contorted attitudes and shajjcs, 
or veluMuently convulsed with racking- pains, or drop- 
ping with relaxed muscles into a lifeless lump; and to 
hear dread shrieks of delirious ravin«is, — must have 
])roduced a tridy frightful effect ui)on an excited and 
deluded assembly. The constables and theii' assistants 
would go t(j the rescue, lift the body of the sufferer, 
and liear it in their arms towards the prisoner. The 
magistrates and the crowd, hushed in the det.'post 
silence, would watch with breathless awe the result of 
the experiment, while the oHicers slowly approached 
the accused, who, when they came near, would, in 
obedience to the order of the mau'istrates, hold out a 
hand, and touch the flesh of the aillicted one. In- 
stantly the spasms cease, the eyes ()j)en, color returns 
to tl;e countenance, the limbs resume their position 
and functions, and life and intelligence are wholly re- 
stored. The snflcrer comes to herself, walks back, and 
takes lu'r so:it as well as ever. The effect upon the 
accused j)erson nnist have been confounding. It is a 
wondi-r that it did not oftener break them down. It 
sometimes did. Poor Deliverance Jlobbs, when the 





process was tri(.'(l ui)on her, was wholly ovoreonic, and 
passed (Voiu e<jnsci(jiis aiul calmly asserted iimoceiicc 
to a li('li)less al)andonincMt of reason, conscience, and 
herself, exclainiinjz', " 1 am ama/iMl I I am amazed I " 
and assented afterwards to every eharue lii-ouuht 
against her, and said whatever she was told, or .sii])- 
posed they wished her to say. 

On the 14th of ^fay, warrants were issued against 
Daniel Andrew ; (teorgc Jacobs, .Jr. ; his wife, llehecca 
Jacolts ; Sarah Buclvlev, wife of William IJueklev ; and 
Mary Whittredge, daughter of said IJuekley, — all of 
Salem Village ; Elizabeth Hart, wife of Isaac Hart, 
of Lynn ; Tlajmas Farrar, Sr., also of Lynn ; Eliza- 
beth Cols(jn, of Reading; and IJethiah Carter, of 
Woburn. There is nothing of special interest among 
the few pai)ers that are on file relating to Hart, (^)lson, 
or Carter. The constable made return that he had 
searched the houses of Daniel Andrew and George 
Jacobs, Jr., but could not (hid them. He brought in 
forthwith the bodies of Sarah Ihiekley, Mary Whit- 
trcdge, and Rebecca Jacobs. Farrar and the rest were 
brought in siiortly afterwards. 

Daniel Andrew was one of the leading men of the 
village, and the warrant against him was proof that 
soon none would be too high to be reached by the 
prosecutors. He felt that it was in vain to attempt to 
resist their destructive power ; and, getting notice in 
some way of the approach of the constable, with his 
near neighbor, friend, and connection, deorge Jac(»l)S, 


WnrilfltAlT AT SALKM VILLAfJi:. 




I'll ■; 

Jr., cn'octLMl Ills escape, and round rerugc in a foreign 

Keheecta, the wife of (Jeorge .Facolis, Jr., was tlic 
victim «)f a partial derangement. IFer daugliti^r ^Mar- 
garet was already in jail. Her husband had (!sea|)(!d 
hy a hurried tiight, and his f'ther was in prison await- 
ing his trial. She was 'eft in a lonely and unprotected 
condition, in a country hnt th'ulv setth'd, in tlie midst 
of woods. The constable came with his warrant for 
her. She wan driven to desperation, and was inclined 
to resist ; but he persuaded her to go with him by hold- 
ing out the inducement that she would soon he per- 
mitted to return. Four young children, one of them 
an infant, were left in the house ; but those who were 
old enougli to waliv followed after, crying, endeavor- 
ing to overtake her. Some of the neighbors took tliem 
into their houses. The imprisonmer t of a woman in 
her situation and mental conditi(>n ^.■as an outrage ; 
but F^hc was kept in irons, as they al'i were, for eight 
months. Jler mother addressed an humlde but car- 
nest and touching ])etition tv^ the chief-justice of tlic 
court at Salem, setting forth her daughter's condition ; 
but it was of no avail. Afterwards, she addressed a 
similar memorial to '• His Kxcellency Sir William 
riiips, Knight, Governor, and the IIonoral)lc Council 
sitting at Hoston," in the following terms : — 

"J'/ic Ilamhle Petition of Rebecca Fox^ of Ccunhridge, shoiu- 
eth, that, whereas Rebecca Jacobs (duugliter of your liiun- 
hle petitioner) has, a long time, — even many niontlis, — 
now lain in prison for witciieraft, and is well known to be a 


V. .^^■Ts.sii^faias ^ 



pors^on cra/.i'd, distrju'h'i], ami l)rt)krn in mind, your IniinMo 
l>('tilioiier doc' most liiimMy iiiid I'lii'iiostly fi'ck unto Your 
Exci'Ilcucy and to Your Ilonor.s I'or i-flicl' iit lliis ca-*'. 

" Y'oiir ])L'titioii('r, — who know.s well tlii; coudilioii of lior 
poor dan^fliter, — to^retliiM* with si'veral othors of <j;ood re- 
pute and credit, arc ready to oiler their oath.-', that the said 
Jaoohs is a >.',)man era/cd, dislracled, and broken in her 
mind : and that she has been so these twelve vears and 

" Ilowevc, for (I think) above this half-year, the said 
Jacobs has lain in prison, and yet remains tiiere, attended 
with many sore dilliculties. 

•'Christianity and nature do each of them obli;:e your 
petitioner to be very solicitous in tliis matter; and, although 
many weighty cases do exercise your thoughts, yet your 
petitioner can have no re8t in her mind till such time :is 
she has otlered this her address on behalf of her daugh- 

" Some have died already in prison, and others ha\e been 
dangerously sick ; and how soon others, and, among them, 
my poor child, by the dilliculties of this confinement may be 
sick and die, God only knows. 

" She is uucapable of making that shift for herself that 
others can do , and such are her circumstances, on other 
accounts, that your petitioner, who is her tender mother, has 
many great sorrows, and almost overcoming burdens, on her 
mind upon her account ; but, in the midst of all her i)erplexi- 
tles and troubles (next to supplicating to a good and mer- 
ciful God), your petitioner has no way for help but to make 
this her afilicted condition known unto you. So, not doubting 
but Your Excellency and Y'our Honors will readily hear the 
cries and groans of a poor distressed woman, and grant what 


i ,' 



help and (Milnr;^cinciit you may, your petitioner Iiearlily Iie^rs 
(lod's ;:ra(i(>us pri'senee with yon ; and subscribes herr^elf, in 
all hnnd)U' manner, your .sorrowlnl and distressed peti- 
tioner, Ukimk < A Fox." 

No 1io(m1 wfis jtaid lo this ix'titioii ; and IIk; milortii- 
nato AvoiuMii rcinaiiicd in jail until — al'lcr the (hdti- 
sion had passed from the niiinls of tin? people — a 
gfand Jury found a Idll a<i;ainst her, on \vhi(di she 
was hi'ounht lo trial, Jan. •>, liil*-"), and ac(juitted. 
There is in) niore dis<^raceful feature in all the pro- 
ccetlinirs than the lonj^ imprisonment of this woman, 
her l)ein<i" hrou.uht to trial, and tin; obdurate deafness 
to humanity and leason of the chief-justice, the gov- 
ernor, and the council. 

No jiapcirs are found relatiii''' to the examination of 
Thomas Farrar ; hut the following deposition shows tho 
manner in whiidi prosecutions were got up: — 

"Tmk J)i;i'Osrri()N of Ann Putnam, who testilietli and 
saith, that, on the 8th of iNIay, 1<)'J2, tiiere appeared to me 
tlie apparition of an old, ^ifray-licaded man, Avitli a great 
nose, which tortui-ed me. and almost choked me, and urged 
me to write in his book ; and I asked him what was his 
name, and from wdience he eame, for I would complain of 
him ; he told me he came from Lynn, and people do call 
him ' old Father riiaraoh ; * and he said he was my grand- 
father, for my father used to call him father : but I told him 
I would not cull him grandfather: for he was a wizard, 
and I would complain of him. And, ever .«5ince, he hath 
atllicted me by times, beating me and pinching me and 
almost chokin'T me, and ur;»in<j me continually to write in his 






"We, wlioso iiann'M iwv. uiHlcrwi'itlcn. Iiii\ iiiL' Immmi coh- 
vorsatit wiili Ann I'lilmun, Iimm- lu-anl Imt ili't-Iarf what is 
al)ove wriltfii, — uliat ."lif nald she saw and heard Irom tho 
a|)|iariti<iii of oM IMiaraoh, — and al«o havf scrn her t<»r- 
tnrcs. and perceived her teniptations, hy her hmd ont- 
crie.x, ' I will n»it write, ohl I'haratdi, — I will nut wriie in 
your book.' Thomas I'l tnam, 

IvoilKUr MultlMI.I.." 

Sli(^ liad lii'ard this person spoken of as "old Katlicr 
IMiartudi," witii liis " un-cjit nose:" and. IVoni a mero 
spirit (d' niiscdiiel". — i'or tlie Inn (d' tlie tliiiiu'. — cried 
out upon lilm. Many <d' the docninents exhihit a levity 
of spirit, aniont th»'se jiirls, whiidi show h(»\v hardened 
and reekh'ss tlicy Innl lujcoine. Tin! i'oHowinu- deposi- 
tions are illnstrativo of this state of mind ainonj.^ 
thcni : — 

*'Ti(K Df.fosrrioN ov Clkmi:nt C'^t, aired sixty 
years, or th(!real)()nt. — Saith that, on the 21)l!i of May, KiD'J, 
heiiij; at SaU'in \'illa^e, carryin;^ Ikmuc Klizaheth Ilnhhard 
from the nieetin"; heldud me, she desired me to ridi; faster. 
I asked her why. She said the woods were full (d' devils, 
and said, ' There 1 ' and 'There they be ! ' but I could see 
none. Then I j)nt on my horse ; and, afti-r I had i-iddeii 
a whUe, she told me I nn'^rht ride softer, for we had oin ridden 
them. I asked her if she was not afraid of the Devil. She 
answi-red me, ' No : she could discourse with tlie Devil as well 
as with me,' and further saith not. This 1 am ready to tes- 
tify on oath, if called thereto, -'3 witness my hand. 

"Cl^KMKNT Coi.DI M." 

"TiiK Ti:sTiMONV Of Danii:l Elliot, aued twenty-Mveii 
years or thereabouts, who testitieth and saith, that I, being 





at till' lioii.Ho (tf LiciitciiMtit Iii;jcrsoll, on the 2x\\\ «•(' March, 
ill llu! year I()'.(:i, tluTo Iji-in;,' j)iv.Hi!iit (»iie of tlie nllliciud per- 
sons, wlio ciii'il out anil said, ' 'l'lii'i\''s (Joody i'roctcr.' Wil- 
liam Uiiyiiiond, Jr., l)ciii;j: tlicrc present, told ilio irirl lio 
hidicvi'd she lied, (or lu; .saw iiolliiiiir. Then (ioody lii^rcr- 
80II told the ;:irl she l<dd a lie, I'nr llicri' was nolliin;.'. 'I'lnii 
the <,'irl suid .»lie did it I'or sport, — they must liavi- souw. 

Safiili lliicklcy was cxiiiniiu'd ^fay 1 8, and licr daiiuli- 
toi" Maty Wliilti'e(lii,(! probably on the same day. AVe 
have I'ari'is's roporl of (In; jhocoimIIhos in fcfcreiiccj to 
the fornuM'. 'I'lu; only witnesses a<;iiinst her were the 
alHlicled ehildi-en. They perlorined their g-rand opera- 
tion of jiioln^' into fits, and belnt;' carried to the iieeiised 
and siibjecled to her touch ; Ann Piitnani, Susanna 
Sheldon, and Mary Warren enacting the jiart in suc- 
cession. Sheldon cried out, "There is the black man 
\vhisi»cfing in her earl*' The magistrates and all 
beholders were convinced. She was conuiiitted to 
prison, and remained in irons for eight monihs before 
a trial, which resulted in her acquittal. So eminently 
excellent was the character of (Joodwife Buckley, that 
her arrest and imprisonment led to expressions in her 
favor as honoralde to those who had the courage to 
litter them as to her. The following certificates were 
given, ])revious to her trial, by ministers in the neigli- 
borhood : — 

" Tiiese are to certify whom it may or shall concern, that 
1 have known Surah, the wife of William Buckley, of Salem 
Village, more or less, ever tjinco she was brought out of 

wnviK U.MT AT SALKM VIl.l.MiK. 


lMi;;liutil, wliii-li \^ ttii(*\f lilt y Vi'iii'M ii;:o; and, tliiriii^' all that 
tiino, I iicMT kiH'u iior licaiMl of any t-vil in lnr carriii^^e, or 
C'onvrr-ation unltcconiin;,' a CIiriMtian : likfwis*', Aw was 
brofl up liy Cliristian parents all llif linu' .-li«' liscil lu-rt- at 
I|>!<\vicli. I lurtlicr fcstily, lliat tin' .',ii<l Sarali was atliniltcil 
as a micihImt into the <'linn'li nt' Inswidi alM)Vc lurlv vcarrt 
.since; ami that I tic\cr heard I'loni others, <»r ohsiTVt'd hy 
mvxclf, anv thinir 'if Imt that was iiifonsislcnt with her pro- 
fession oi- nnsnitahlo to Christianity, cither in word, (h'cd, 
or coin crsation, and am stran^iidy Mirprised that any person 
shonld speak or tiiink of her as one worthy to he siispcM-led 
of anv snch crime that she is now charyred with. In testi- 
inony hereof 1 have here set my hand this 'JOth of .luiie, 

i(;;»2. • Wii.i.iAM lit imAiti>." 

'• IJein;r desired by (ioodnian Hnckley to <^\\u my testi- 
mony to his wile's conversation Itefore this jjreat calamity 
befell h(M', I cannt)t refuse to bear witness to the trnth ; vi/., 
that, during the time of her living in Salem for nniny yv. 
in conimnnion with this ehin-ch, havinj^ occasioindly fre- 
qnetit converse and discourse with her. I have never obser\ ed 
mystdf, nor iieard from any other, any thing that was un- 
suitable to a conv«'rsation becoming the gospel, and have 
always looked upon her as a serious, Clodly wonnm. 

"John IlMKiiNsos." 

" IMnrblehend, Jan. 2, lOO--. — Upon the same re(|uest, 
having had the like opportunity by hei" residence many years 
at Marblehead, I can do no less than give the alike testimony 
for her pious conversation during her abode; in this place 
and communion with us. Samikl Ciii:kvi:u." 

William llii))bard was the vciierablo luiiiister of Ips- 
wich, described by Ilutchiiisoii as '' a man of leariihig, 





and of a candid and benevolent mind, accompanied 
with a good degree of Catholicism." lie is described 
by another writer as " a man of singuhir mo«lesty, 
learned vvitliout ostentation." He will be remem- 
bered with honor for his long and devoted service in 
the Christian ministry, and as the historian of New 
England and of the Indian wars. 

John Iligginson was worthy of the title of the 
" Nestor of the New-England clergy." lie was at this 
time seventy-six years old, and had been a ^readier 
of the gos[)el (ifty-five years. For thirty-three years 
he had been pastor of the First Church in Salem, of 
which his fatlier was the first preacher. No character, 
in all our annals, shines with a purer lustre. John 
Dunton visited him in 1080, and thus speaks of him : 
" All men look to him as a common father ; and old 
age, for his sake, is a reverend thing. He is eminent 
for all the graces that adorn a minister. His very 
presence puts vice out of countenance ; his conversa- 
tion is a glimpse of heaven." The fact, that, while his 
colleague, Nicholas Noyes, took so active and disas- 
trous a part in the prosecutions, he, at an early stage, 
discountenanced them, shows that he was a person of 
discrimination and integrity. That he did not conceal 
his disapprobation of the proceedings is demonstrated, 
not only by the tenor of his attestation in behalf of 
Goodwife Buckley, but by the decisive circumstance 
that the " afllictcd children " cried out against his 
daughter Anna, the wife of Captain AVilliam Dolliver, 
of Gloucester ; got a warrant to apprehend her ; and 


s > 





liad her broiigli^ o the Salem jail, and committed as a 
witch. They never struck at friends, l)ut were sure to 
punish all who were suspected to disapr>rove of the 
proceedings. How long Mrs. Dolliver remained in 
prison wc arc not informed. But it was impossible to 
break down the inlluencc or independence of Mr. 
Higginson. It is not imj)rol)al»le that he believed iu 
witchcraft, with all the other divines of his day ; but 
he feared not to boar testimony to personal worth, and 
could not be brought to co-operate in violence, or fall 
in with the si)irit of persecution. Tlie weight of his 
character compelled the deference of the most heated 
zealots, and even Cotton Mather himself was eager to 
pay him homage. Four years afterwards, he thus 
writes of liim : " This good old man is yet alive ; and 
he that, from a child, knew the Holy Scriptures, does, 
at those years wherein men use to be twice children, 
continue preaching them with such a manly, pertinent, 
and judicious vigor, and with so little djccay of his 
intellectual abilities, as is indeed a matter of just 

Samuel Ciieever was a clergyman of the highest 
standing, and held in universal esteem through a long 

From passages incidentally given, it has appeared 
that it was quite conimon, in those times, to attribute 
accidents, injuries, pains, and diseases of all kinds, to 
an " evil hand." It was not confmed to this locality. 
When, however, the public mind had become excited 
to so extraordinary a degree by circumstances con- 

( :' 

i ,. 



iicctcd witli tlio prosecutions in 1G02, tliis tendency of 
the jK)|)uliir credulity was very nnicli .strengthened. 
Behin ing that the sufferer or patient was the victim of 
the nialigMity of Satan, and it also heing a doctrine 
of the established belief that he could not act u}' >n 
human beings or affairs except through the instru- 
mental agency of some other human beings in con- 
federacy with him, the question naturally arose, in 
every specific instance, Who is the person in this dia- 
bolical league, and doing the will of the Devil in this 
case ? Who is the witch ? It may well be su})posed, 
that the suffering person, and all surrounding friends, 
would be most earnest and anxious in pressing this 
question and seeking its solution. The accusing girls 
at the village were thought to possess the power to 
answer it. This gave them great importance, grati- 
fied their vanity and pride, and exalted them to the 
character of pro])lietesses. They were ready to meet 
the calls made u})on them in thi;:. ca})acity ; would be 
carried to the room of a sick person ; and, on entering 
it, would exclaim, on tlie first return of pain, or diffi- 
culty of respiration, or restless motion of the patient, 
" There she is I " There is such a one's appearance, 
choking or otherwise tormenting him or her. If the 
ihinds of the accusing girls had been led towards 
a new victim, his or her name would be used, and a 
warrant issued for his a])prchension. If not, then the 
name of some one already in confinement would be 
used on the occasion. It was also a received oj)inion, 
that, while ordinary fastenings would not i)revent a 



witch from going abroad, " in her apparition," to any 
(listanco to aniiet persons, a redouhling of them miglit. 
Whenever one of the accusing girls pretended to seo 
the spectres of persons already in jail alllictiiig any 
one, orders would forthwith he given to have them 
more heavily chained. Every once in a while, a 
wretched prisoner, already sidfering from bonds and 
handcuffs, would he subjected to additional manacles 
and chains. This was one of the most cruel features 
in these proceedings. It is illustrated by the follow- 
ing document : — 

"Thk DKPOSrnoN of Bkn.ia.min IIutchin'Son, who testi- 
fieth and saith, that my wife was nuicii afflicted, presently 
after the last execution, with violent pains in her head and 
teeth, and all parts of her body ; bnt, on sabhath day was 
fortnight in the morning, she being in such excessive nusery 
that she said she believed tliat she had an evil hand upon 
her: whereupon I went to ^lary Walcot, one of onr next 
neighbors, to come and look to see if she conld see .".nyl)ody 
upon her ; and, as soon as she came into the house, slic said 
that our two next neighbors, Sarah Buckley and Mary Whit- 
tredge, were upon my wife. And immediately my wife had 
ease, and Mary Walcot was tormented. Whereupon I 
went down to the sheritF, and desired him to take some 
course with those women, that tliey might not liave such 
power to torment : and presently he ordered them to be 
fettered, and, ever since that, my wife has been tolerable 
well ; and I believe, in my heart, that Sarah IJuckley and 
Mary Whittredge have hurt my wife and several others by 
acts of witchcraft. 

"Benjandn Ilutchiusou owned the above-written evi- 







'" if ' 

donee to be the truth, upou oath, before the grand inquest, 
lo-7, 1G92." 

Tlio ovidoncc is quite conclusive, from considera- 
tions suggested by the foregoing document, and indi- 
cations scattered through the papers generally, that 
all persons committed on the charge of witchcraft 
were kept heavily ironed, and otherwise strongly fas- 
tened. Only a few of tiie bills of expenses incurred 
are jirescrved. Among them we find the following: 
For mending and putting on Rachel Clcnton's fet- 
ters ; one pair of fetters for John Howard ; a j)air of 
fetters each for John Jackson, Sr., and John Jackson, 
Jr. ; eighteen pounds of iron for fetters ; for making 
four pair of iron fetters and two pair of handcuffs, 
and putting them on the legs and hands of (jloodwife 
Cloyse, Easty, Bromidg, and Green ; chains for ?^arali 
Good and Sarah Osburii ; shackles for ten prisoners ; 
and one pair of irons for j\[ary Cox. AVlicn we re- 
flect upon the character of the prisoners generally, — 
many of them delicate and infirm, several venerable 
for their virtues as well as years, — and that they 
were kept in this cruelly jjainful condition from early 
spring to the middle oi the next January, and the 
larger j)art to the May of 1003, in the extremes of heat 
and cold, exi)osed to the most distressing severities of 
both, crowded in narrow, dark, and noisome jails un- 
der an accumulation of all their discomforts, restraints, 
privations, exposures, and abominations, our wonder 
is, not that many of them died, but that all did not 
break down in body and mind. 





Sarah IJiicklcy and her (hiuglitcr were not hn)U<;1it 
to trial until after the ])o\ver of the j)n)secii(ion to 
pursue to the deatli had ceased. They were aeijuitted 
in January, lOO'i. Their ^oods and chattels had all 
been seized by the oflicers, as was the usual prac- 
tice, at the time of their arrest. In hunil)l(' eircuni- 
stances before, it took their last shilling to meet the 
charges of their imi)risonment. Tliey, as all others, 
were required to i)rovide their own maintenance 
while in prison ; and, after trial and acipiittal, were 
not discharged until all costs were paid. Five pounds 
had to be raised, to satisfy the claims of the oHicers of 
the court and of the jails, for each of them. The result 
was, tlic family was utterly impoverished. The j)oor 
old woman, with her aged husband, sullered much, 
there is reason to fear, from absolute want during all 
the rest of their days. Tiieir truly Christian virtues 
dignilied their poverty, an«l seuured the respect and 
esteem of all good men. The Rev. Joseph Green has 
this entry in liis diary: "Jan. 2,1702. — Old AVilliam 
Buckley died this evening, lie was at meeting the 
last sabbath, and died with the cold, I fear, for want 
of comforts and good tending. Lord foruive I lie was 
about eighty years old. 1 visited him and ])rayed 
with him on ^londay, and also the evening ))efore ho 
died. He was very poor ; but, I hot)e, liad not his 
portion in this life." Tiie ejaculation, " Lord for- 
give ! " expresses the decj) sense Mi'. (Jreen had, of 
which his whole ministry gave evidence, of tlie inex- 
pressil)le sufferings and wrongs brouglit upon families 

^w^^^immMisi^'ji -M^^L 


'«•=.■ iW««;<.*.stL.--.„'o»lt^_jij^,fi„ui 



by tlic witchcraft prosecutions. Tiic case of Surah 
Buckley, lier hushand and family, was hut on(3 of 
many. The liumhle, harmless, innocent j)eoi>le who 
experienced that fearful and pitiless persecution had 
to drink of as bitter a cup as ever was permitted by an 
inscrutable Providence to be ])resented to human lips. 
In reference to them, we feel as an assurance, what 
good ^Ir. Green humltly hoju'd, that " they had not 
their portion in this life." Those who Avent lirndy, 
patiently, and calmly through that great trial without 
losing love or faith, are crowned with glory and honor. 

The examination and commitment of !Mary Easty, 
on the 21st of April, have already been described. For 
some reason, and in a wav (>r which we have no in- 
formation, she was discharged from prison on the 18th 
of May, and wholly released This seems to have 
been very distasteful to the accusing girls. They 
were determined not to let it rest so; and put into 
operation their utmost energies to get her back to im- 
prisonment. On the 20th of May, Mercy Lewis, being 
t,hen at the house of John Putnam, Jr., was taken 
wiih fits, and experienced tortures of unprecedented 
severity. The particular circumstances on this occa- 
sion, as gathered from various depositions, illustrate 
very strikingly the skilful manner in which tiie girls 
managed to produce the desired effect ujjon the public 

Samuel Abbey, a neighbor, whether sent for or not 
wc are not informed, went to John Putnam's house 
that mm-ning, about nine o'clock. He found Mercy in 





a terrible coiulition, eryiiiji; out with piteous tones of 
ang'U'sli, " Dear Lonl, receive iny soul." — '' liord, let 
them not kill me (juite." — " I'ray for the salvation of 
my soul, for they will kill me outii«>ht." lie was de- 
sired to g;o to Thomas I'utnam's house to Inini;' his 
daughter Ann, " to see if she could sec who it was that 
hurt Mercy Lewis." lie found Ahi<iail Williams with 
Ann, and they accompanied him hack to .John Put- 
iiam's. On the way, they both cried out that they 
saw the apparition of Goody Easty alllicting- Mercy 
Lewis. AVhen they reached the scene, they exclaimed, 
" There is Goody Easty and John Willard and Mary 
Whittredge alTlicting the body of Mercy Lewis ; " Mercy 
at the time laboring for breath, and ap[)earing as 
choked and strangled, convulsed, and apparently at 
the last gasp. " Thus," says Abbey, " she continued 
the greatest ])art of the day, in such tortures as no 
tongue can express." ^lary AValcot was sent for. 
Upon coming in, she cried out, "There is the appari- 
tion of Goody Easty choking Mercy Lewis, pressing 
upon her breasts with both her hands, and })utting a 
chain about her neck." A message was then de- 
spatched for Elizabeth Hubbard. She, too, saw the 
shape of Goody Easty, " the very same woman that 
was sent home the other day," aided in her diabolical 
operations by Willard aiul Whittredge, " torturing 
Mercy in a most dreauful manner." Litelligencc of 
the shocking sufferings of Mercy was circulated far 
and wide, and people hurried to the spot from all 
directions. Jonathan Putnam, James Darling, Benja- 




mill lliilcliinsoii, uiul f^tumiel Bmybrook readied the 
lioiise (luring the evening, and found Mercy "• in a case 
as if dentil would have (juielvly followed." Occasion- 
ally, Mercy would have a respite ; and, at such inter- 
vals, Elizabeth Hubbard would fill the gap. " These 
two fell into fits by turns ; the one Icing wdl while 
the other was ill." Each of them coiitinued, all the 
while, crying out against fJoody Easty, uttering in 
their trances vehement remonstrances against her 
cruel oi)erati()ns, representing her as bringing their 
winding-shee(s and coftins, and threatening to kill 
them " if they would not sign to her book." Their 
acting was so com))lete that the bystanders seem to 
have thought that they heard the words of Easty, as 
well as the responses of the girls ; and that they saw 
thr " winding-sheet, cofTin," and " the book." In the 
general consternation. Marshal ITcrrick was sent for. 
What he saw, heard, thought, and did, appears from 
the following : — 

"Mav 20, 1G92. — The Testimony of Geohok PIer- 
RICK, aged thirty-four or thereabouts, and John Putnam, 
Ju., of Salem Village, aged thirty-five years or Jhere- 
abouts. — Testifieth and suitli, that, being at tlie house of 
the above-said John Putnam, both saw Mercy Lewis in a 
very dreadful and solemn condition, so that to our ajjpre- 
hcnsion slie could not continue long in this world without a 
mitigation of those torments we saw her in, which caused 
us to expedite a hasty despatch to appreliend Mary Easty, 
in hopes, if possible, it might save her life; and, returning 
the same night to said John Putnam's house about midnight. 





wc foiuid the said Mercy Lewis in a drciulfiil fit, hut her 
reason was then returnod. A;rHin she said, ' What I liave 
you hron;,dit nie the windin;f-slu't't, (loodwife Kasty ? Well, 
I liad rather go into the winding-sheet than set niy hand to 
tlie hook ; ' hut, after that, her fits were weaker and weaker, 
but still coMiplaining that slu; was very siek of her stoinaeh. 
About 'M'f.-ak of day, she fell asleep, but still continues ex- 
tremely sick, and was taken with a dreadful fit just as we 
left her; so that we perceived life in her, and that was all." 

Edward Piitiuiin, after stating that tlio grievous 
aniictions am) tortures of Mercy Lewis were charged, 
by Iter and the otlier four girls, upon ^lary Easty, 
deposes as follows : — 

" I myself, being there present with several others, looked 
for nothing else but present death for almost the space of 
two days .ind a night. She was choked almost to death, 
insomuch we thought sometimes she had been dead ; her 
mouth and teeth shut ; and all this very often until such 
time as we understood Mary Easty was laid in irons." 

Mercy's fits did not cease immediately upon Easty's 
being apprehended, but on her being committed to 
prison and chains by the magistrate in Salem. 

An examination of distances, with the map before 
us, will show the rapidity with which business was 
despatched on this occasion. Abbey went to John 
Putiuiiu, Jr.'s house at nine o'clock in the morning of 
May 20. He was sent to Thomas Putnam's house for 
Ann, and brought her and Abigail Williams back with 
him. Mary Walcot was sent for to the house of her 
father, Captain Jonathan Walcot, and went up at one 







o'clock, " altoiit an . l»y sun." Then Klizabcth 

Iluldninl, wli(» lived at the lioiiso of Dr. (Jri|jiti,s, " was 
carried up to Constaltle .John Putnam's liousc:" 
Jonathan I'utnani, .Fames Darling, IJeujamin llul(;hin- 
son, and Samuel Hrayhrook got there in the evening, as 
thoy say, " between eight and eleven o'clock." In the 
mean time, Marshal JFerrick had arrived. Steps were 
taken to get out a warrant. .Tohn Putnam and IJenja- 
min irutchinson went to Salem to Ilathorne lor the 
purpose. They must have started soon after eight. 
Ilathorne issued the warrant forthwith. It is dated 
May 20. Ilcrrick went with it to the liousc of Isaac 
Easty, made the arrest, sent his prisoner to the jail 
in Salem, and returned lumself to John Putnam's 
house " about midnight ; " staid to witness the appar- 
ently mortal sullerings of Mercy until " about break 
of day ; " returned to Salem ; had the examination be- 
fore Ilathorne, at Thomas IJeadle's : the whole thing 
was finished, Mary Easty in irons, information of the 
result carried to John Putnam's, and Mercy's agonies 
ceased that afternoon, as Edward Putnam testifies. 

I have given this particular account of the circum- 
stances that led to and attended Mary Easty's second 
arrest, because the papers belonging to the case afford, 
in some respects, a better insight of the state of things 
than others, f^nd because they enable us to realize the 
power which the accusing girls exercised. The con- 
tinuance of their convulsions and spasms for such a 
length of time, the large number of persons who wit- 
nessed and watched them in the broad daylight, and 





tlic pi'rli'ct success of llii'ir u))cr;itii)iis, sliow liow 
tIi()roii;:;|jly tlicy liad Itecoiiu! trained in tiicii' nits. I 
liuvc presented the (h'cuitcuccs in t!i<' order of time, 
HO tiiat, Ity estimating' llie distances traversed and the 
period within which thi;y took phice, an idea can ht; 
formed of the vehenuMit earnestness with whicli nuMi 
acted in the " hurrying distractions of amazing alfiic- 
tions " and overwhelming teri'oi-s. This instance also 
gives us a view of the horrihie state of things, when 
any one, howevcn* respeetahh^ and woi'lhy, was lialile, 
at any moment, to he seized, maligned, and destroyed. 

jMary Hasty had })reviously experi(Miced the malice 
of the persecutors. For two months slie had sulfered 
the miseries of imprisonment, liad just heen released, 
and for two days enjoyed the restoration olliherty, the 
comforts of lier home, and a re-union with her family. 
She and they, no douht, consideriMl thems(dves safe 
from any further outrage. After midnight, she was 
roused from sleep hy the unfeehng marshal, torn from 
her husband and children, curried hack to prison, 
loaded with chains, and finally consigned to a dreadful 
and most cruel death. She was an excellent and 
pious matron. Iler husband, referring to the transac- 
tion nearly tventy years afterwards, justly expressed 
what all must feel, that it was " a hellish molesta- 

One of the most malignant witnesses against Mary 
Easty was " Ooodwife Bibber." She obtruded herself 
ill many of the cases, acting as a sort of outside mem- 
ber of the " accusing circle," volunteering her aid in 


wixrurriAFT at salfm villaok. 

carryiii«»' on flic juM'socutiona. Tt was an outrage for 
tiio iua«j; rules »)r jiidpjs to liave couiitoiianccd such 
a false (IcfanuM'. Tlicro are, among tin; pajicrs, 
(locimients which sliow tliat she ou<j,lit to have l>ocii 
imiiisluMl as a cahiinniator, rather tliaii h(; called to 
utter, under oath, lies against respoctaljle jteople. The 
following dejtosition was sworn to in Court: — 

"TuK Tkstfmony of Joskj'm Fowlku, who tcptifictli tlint 
CJoodmun I'ibbin* and his wiro lived lit my house; and I did 
observe atul take notice that CJoodwife Bibber was u woniuu 
who was viM'v idle in her calling, and very nnich given to 
tattling and tnle-benriug, making mischiL't' amongst her 
neighbors, and very nuich given to speak bad words, and 
would call her husband bad names, and was a womati of a 
very tu.bulent, unruly spirit." 

Joseph Fowler lived in Wenham, and was a pcrsou 
of rcs[)ectahility and influence. His brother Philip 
was also a leading man ; was employed as attorney 
by the Village Tarish iu its lawsuit with ^Ir. Parris ; 
and married a sister of Joseph lierrick. They were 
the grandsons of the first Philip, who was an early 
emigrant from Wales, settling in Ipswich, where he 
had large landed estates. Henry Fowler and his two 
brothers, now of Danvcrs, are the descendants of this 
family : one of them, Augustus, distinguished as a 
naturalist, especially in the department of ornithology ; 
the other, Samuel Page Fowler, as an explorer of our 
early annals and local antiquities. In 1G92, one of 
the Fowlers conducted the proceeduigs in Court 


wirrnrRAFT at sai.f.m vfi,la(]E. 


ngniiist tli(> head iiiid front of tlio wltclicraft prose- 
cution ; and tlio otlici- had IIk^ coura^r', in tlir most 
fearful hour of Ihc delusion, to ^ivc' open testimony in 
tho defenc*! of its vielims. It is an interestinjr circum- 
stance, that one of the same name and descent, in his 
reprint of tiie papers of Calef and in otiier puh- 
lications, lias done as nuich as any other person of our 
day to hring that whole transaction under the light of 
truth and justice. 

.John Porter, who was a jirandson of the original 
John I'orter and the orijiinai AVilliam Dodtre iind a 
man of jiroperty and family, with his wife Lydia; 
Thomas .Jacohs and Mary his wifi;; and Hiehai-d Wal- 
ker, — all of Weidiam, and for a long time neighhors of 
this Bihhcr, — testify, in corroboration of the statement 
of Fowler, that she was a woman of an unruly, tur- 
bulent spirit, double-tongued, nuicli given to tattling 
and tale-bearing, making mischief amongst her ueigh- 
bors, very nuicli given to speak bad words, often 
speaking against one and another, telling lies ami 
uttering malicious wishes against people. It was 
abundantly ])roved that she had long been known to be 
able to fall into fits at any time. One witness said 
" she would often fall into strange fits when she was 
crossed of her humor ; '' ami another, " that she could 
fall into fits as often as she pleased." 

On the 21st of May, warrants were issued against 
the wife of William Basset, of Lynn ; Susanna Roots, of 
Beverly ; and Sarah, daughter of John Procter of Salem 
Farms ; a few days after, against Benjamin, a son of 



said Joliii Procter; ^Faiy Dcricli, "wife of Michael Der- 
icli, and daugliter of William Basset of Lynn ; and the 
wife of Robert Pease of Halem. Such ])apers as relate 
to these persons vary in no particular worthy of notice 
from those already presented. 

On the 2(Sth of May, warrants were issued against 
Martha Carrier, of Andover; Elizabeth Fosdick, of Mai- 
den ; Wilniot Read, of Marblchead ; Sarah Rice, of 
Reading; Elizal)eth How, of Toi)srield ; Captain John 
Alden, of Jioston ; William Procter, of Salem Farms ; 

Captain John Flood, of Rumncy Marsh ; Tootli- 

aker and her daughter, of Billerica ; and Abbot, 

between Topsfield and Wenhani line. On the 30th, 
a warrant was issued against Elizabeth, wife of Ste- 
phen Paine, of Charlestown ; on the 4th of June, 
against Mary, wife of Benjamin Ireson, of Lynri. Be- 
sides these, there arc notices of conijdaints made and 
warrants issued against a great number of peoj)le in 
all parts of the country : Mary ]]radbury, of Salisbury ; 
Lydia and Sarah Dustin, of Reading ; Ann Sears, of 
Woburn ; Job Tookey, of Beverly ; Abigail Somes, of 
Gloucester ; Elizabeth Carey, of Charlestown ; Candy, 
a negro woman ; and many others. Some of them have 
points of interest, demanding particular notice. 

The case of Martha Carrier has some remarkable 
features. It has been shown, by passages already 
adduced, that every idle junior; every thing that the 
gossip of the credulous or the fertile imagimitions of 
the malignant could produce ; every thing, gleaned from 
the memory or the fancy, that could have an nnfavora- 



l)le bearing upon an accused })ersoii, however foreign 
or irrelevant it might he to the charge, was allowed to 
be brought iu evidence before the magistrates, and re- 
ceived at the trials. We have seen that a child under 
live years of age was arrested, and put into prison. 
Children were not only permitted, but induced, to 
become witnesses against their parents, and parents 
against their children, llusljands and wives were 
made to criminate each other as witnesses in coi.rt. 
When Martha Carrier was arrested, four of her chil- 
dren were also taken into custody. An indictment 
against one of them is among the papers. Under the 
terrors brought to bear upon them, they were })revailed 
on to be confessors.' The following shows how these 
children were trained to tell their story : — 

" It was asked Sarah Carrier by tlie magistrates, — 

" How long liast tlioii been a witch ? — Ever since I was 
six years old. 

" How old are you now? — Near eight years old: bro- 
ther Richard says I shall be eiglit years old in November 

" Who made you a witch ? — My mother : slie made me 
set my hand to a book. 

" IIow did you set your hand to it? — I tonchcd it with 
my tingers. and the book was red : tlie paper of it was 

" She said she never had seen the black man : the place 
wliere she did it was in Andrew Fester's pasture, and Eliza- 
beth Johnson, Jr., was there. Being askcil who was there 
besides, she answered, her aunt Toothaker and her cousin. 

VOL. II. 14 

I I 




Being asked when it was, she said, when she was bap- 

" What did they promise to give you ? — A black dog. 

" Did the dog ever come to you ? — No. 

" But you said you saw a cat once : what did tliat say to 
you ? — It said it would tear me in pieces, if I would not set 
my hand to the book. 

" She said her mother baptized her, and the Devil, or 
black man, was not there, as she saw ; and her mother 
said, Avhen she baptized her, 'Thou art mine for ever and 
ever. Amen.' 

" How did you afflict folks ? — I pinched them. 

" And she said she had no puppets, but she Avent to them 
that she afflicted. Being asked whether she went iu her 
body or her spirit, she said in her spirit. She said her 
mother carried her thither to afflict. 

"How did your mother carry you when she was iu 
prison ? — She came like a black cat. 

" How did you know it was your mother ? — The cat told 
me so, that she was my mother. She said she afflicted 
Phelps's child last Saturday, and Elizabeth Johnson joined 
with her to do it. She had a wooden spear, about as long 
as her finger, of Elizabeth Johnson ; and she had it of the 
Devil. She would not own that she had ever been at the 
Avitch-meeting at the village. This is the substance. 

" Simon Willakd." 

The confession of another of her children is among 
the papers. It runs thus : — 

" Have you been in the Devil's snare ? — Yes. 
" Is your brother Andrew eusuared by the Devil's snare ? 
— Yes. 






" How long has your brother been a witch ? — Near a 

" IIow long have you been a Aviteh ? — Not long. 

" Have you joined in afflicting the afflicted persons ? — 

" You helped to hurt Timothy Swan, did you ? — Yes. 

"How long have you been a witch? — About five 

" Who was in company when you covenanted with the 
Devil ? — Mrs. Bradbury. 

" Did she help you afflict? — Yes. 

" Who was at the village meeting Avhen you were there? 
— Goodwife How, Goodwife Nurse, Goodwife Wildes, Proc- 
ter and his wife, Mrs. Bradbury, and Corey's wife. 

" What did they do there ? — Eat, and drank wine. 

"Was there a minister there ? — No, not as I know of. 

"From whence had you your Aviue? — From Salem, I 
think, it was. 

" Goodwife Oliver there ? — Yes : I knew her." 

In concluding liis report of the trial of this wrctclicd 
woman, whose children were thus made to become tlie 
instruments for procuring her death. Dr. Cotton Ma- 
ther expresses himself in the following language : — 

'• This rampant hag (Martha Carrier) was the person of 
whom the confessions of the witches, and of her own children 
among the rest, agreed that the Devil had promised her that 
she should be queen of Hell." 

It is quite evident that this " rampant hag " had no 
better opinion of the dignitaries and divines wlio 
managed matters at the time than they had of her. 




Tlio record of licr cxaniinatioii sliows that she was not 
afraid to speak lier mind, and in plain tci-ms too. 
When brougiit before the magistrates, tlie following 
were their questions and her answers. The accusing 
witnesses having severally made their charges against 
her, declaring that she had tormented them in various 
ways, and threatened to cut their throats if they woidd 
not sign the Devil's lx)ok, which, they said, she had 
presented to them, the magistrates addressed her in 
these woi'ds : " What do you say to this you are 
charged with ? " She answered, ^ have not done it.'* 
One of the accusers cried out that she was, at that 
moment, sticking pins into her. Another declared 
that she was then looking upon " the black man," — 
the shape in which they pretended the Devil appeared. 
The magistrate asked the accused, " What black man is 
that ? " Her answer was, " I know none." The accusers 
cried out that the black man was present, and visible 
to them. Tlie magistrate asked her, " What black 
man did you see ? " Her answer was, " I saw no black 
man but your own presence." Whenever she looked 
upon the accusers, they were knocked down. The 
magistrate, entirely deluded by their practised acting, 
said to her, " Can you look upon these, and not knock 
them down ? " Her answer was, " They will dissem- 
ble, if I look upon them." He continued : " You see, 
you look upon them, and they fall down." She broke 
out, " It is false : the Devil is a liar. I looked upon 
none since I came into the room but you." Susanna 
Sheldon cried out, in a trance, " I wonder what could 




^'mk.'*lMFK> f'.vudi 






you murder tlurtecu persons for." At tliis, her spirit 
became aroused : the accusers fell into tlic most in- 
tolerable outcries and agonies. The accused rebuked 
the magistrate, charging him with unfairness in not 
paying any regard to what she said, and receiving 
every thing that the accusers said. " It is a shameful 
thing, that you shonld mind these folks that are out of 
their wits ; " and, turning to those who were bringing 
these false and ridiculous charges against her, she said, 
" You lie : I am wronged." The energy and courage 
of the prisoner threw the accusers, magistrates, and 
the whole crowd into confusion and uproar. The loC- 
ord closes the description of tlic scene in these words : 
" The tortures of the afllicted were so great that there 
was no enduring of it, so that she was ordered away, 
and to be bound hand and foot with all expedition ; the 
afflicted, in the mean while, almost killed, to the great 
trouble of all spectators, magistrates, and others." 

Parris closes his report of this examination as fol- 
lows : — 

" Note. — As soon as she was well bound, tbey all had 
strange and sudden ease. Mary Walcot told the magis- 
trates that this woniau told her she had been a witch this 
forty years." 

This shows the sort of communications the girls 
were allowed to hold with the magistrates, exciting 
their prejudices against accused persons, and lilling 
their ears with all sorts of exaggerated and false 
stories. However much she may have been maligned 



I ; 

by lior neighbors, some of wliom bad long been in the 
habit of circulating slanders against her, the whole 
tenor of the papers relating to her shows that slic 
always indignantly repelled the charge of being a 
witch, and was the last person in the world to liave 
volunteered such a statement as Mary Walcot re- 

The examination of Martha Carrier must have been 
one of the most strilving scenes of the whole drama of 
the witchcraft proceedings. The village meeting-house 
presented a truly wild and exciting spectacle. The 
fearful and horrible superstition which darkened the 
minds of the people was displayed in their aspect and 
movements. Their belief, that, then and there, they 
were witnessing the great struggle between the king- 
doms of God and of the Evil One, and that every thing 
was at stake on tlie issue, gave an awe-struck intensity 
to tlieir expression. The blind, imquestioning confi- 
dence of the magistrates, clergy, and all concerned in 
the prosecutions, in the evidence of the accusers ; the 
loud outcries of their pretended sufferings ; their con- 
tortions, swoonings, and tumblings, excited the usual 
consternation in the assembly. In addition to this, 
there was the more than ordinary bold and defiant 
bearing of the prisoner, stung to desperation by the 
outrage upon human nature in the abuse practised 
upon her poor children ; her firm and unshrinking 
courage, facing the tempest that was raised to over- 
wlielm her, sternly rebuking the magistrates, — "It 
is a shameful thing that you should mind these folks 






that arc out of their wits;" — licr whole dcnioaiior, 
prochiiining her conscious innocence, and proving' that 
slic chose chains, tlie dungeon, and tlio scallohl, rather 
than to belie herseli". Seldom has a scene in real life, 
or a picture wrought l)y the inspiration of genius and the 
hand of art, in its individual characters or its general 
grouping, surpassed that presented on this occasion. 

Hntchinson has preserved the record of another 
examination of a different character. An ignorant 
negro slave-woman was bronght before the magis- . 
trates. She was cunning enough, not only to confess, 
but to cover herself with the cloak of having been led 
into the difficulty by her mistress. 

" Candy, are you a witch ? — Candy no witch in her 
country. Candy's mother no witch. Candy no witdi, Bar- 
bados. Tliis country, mistress give Candy Avitch. 

"Did your mistress make you a witch in this country? — • 
Yes : in this country, mistress give Candy witch. 

" What did your mistress do to make you witch ? — 
Mistress bring book aod pen and ink ; make Candy write 
in it." 

Upon being asked what she wrote, she took a pen 
and ink, and made a mark. Upon being asked how 
she afTlicted people, and where were the puppets she 
did it with, she said, that, if they would let her go out 
for a moment, she would show them how. They al- 
lowed her to go out, and she presently returned with 
two pieces of cloth or linen, — one with two knots, 
the other with one tied in it. Lnmediately on seeing 
these articles, the "afflicted children " were " greatly 


-■.^■ir rramiM 



.. !■ 

affrlglitod," and fell into Aiolent fits. "When they 
came to, tliey declared that the " bhick man," Mrs. 
Ilawke.H, and tlie negro, stood by the i)upi)ets of rags, 
and pinelied tliem. Whereujton tliey fell into fits 
again. " A hit of one of the rags heing set on fire," 
they all shrieked that they were burned, and '• cried 
out dreadfully." Some ijieces l)eing dij»ped in water, 
they went into the convulsions and struggh s of drown- 
ing persons ; and one of them rushbd out of the room, 
and raced down towards the river. 

Candy and the girls having j.dayed tlieir parts so 
well, there was no escape for poor Mrs. Hawkes l)ut in 
confession, which she forthwith made. They were 
both committed to prison. Fortunately, it was not 
convenient to bring them to trial until the next Janu- 
ary, when, the delusion having blown over, they were 

Besides those already mentioned, there were others, 
among the victims of this delusion, whose cases excite 
our tenderest sensibility, and deepen our horror in the 
contemplation of the scene. It seems, that, some time 
before the transactions took i)lace in Salem Village, a 
difficulty arose between two families on the borders of 
Toi)srield and Ipswich, such as often occur among 
neighbors, about some small matter of property, 
fences, or boundaries. Their names were Perley and 
How. A daughter of Perley, about ten years of age, 
hearing, probably, strong expressions by her parents, 
became excited against the Hows, and charged the 
wife of llow with bewitching her. She acted much 

' i : 





' I 


after tlic luauuci' of tlie "aniictod uirls" in Salem 
Village, which was near the place of her residence. 
Very soon the idea hecaine current that ^frs. Jlow 
was a witch ; and every thing that happened amiss to 
any one was hud at her door. She was critid out 
against hy the " afflicted children " in Salem A'illagc, 
and carried hefore the magistrates for examination on 
the 31st of May, 101)2. Upon heing hrought into her 
presence, the accusers fell into their usual fits and 
convulsions, and charged her with tormenting them. 
To the question, put by the magistrates, " What say 
you to this charge ? " her answer was, " If it was the 
last moment I was to live, Hod knows I am innocent 
of any thing in this nature." The papers connected 
with her trial bear abundant testimony to the excel- 
lent character of this pious and amiable woman. A 
person, who had lived near her twenty-four years, 
states, in her deposition, " that she had found her a 
neighborly woman, conscientious in her dealing, faith- 
ful to her promises, and Christianlike in her conversa- 
tion." Several others join in a deposition to this 
effect : " For our own parts, we have been well ac- 
quainted with her i^ < above twenty years. We never 
saw but that she carried it very well, and that both 
her words and actions were always such as well be- 
came a good Christian." 

The following passages illustrate the wicked arts 
sometimes used to bring accusations upon innocent 
persons, and give affecting proof of the excellence of 
the character and heart of Elizabeth How : — 





" TiiK Tkstimonv of Samukl rniLi-irs, nscd nboiit aixtv- 
seven, niiiiisfer of tlie word of God in llowley, who s;»illi tliut 
Mr. Piiysoii (minister of Ood's word nlso in Howlcy) and 
myself went, being desired, to Samuel I'erly, of Ipswich, 
to see tlu'ir young daughter, who was visited with strange 
fits ; and, in her fits (us her fathi'r and mother allirmed), 
did mention Goodwife How, the wife of James How, Jr., 
of Ipswich, as if slie was in the house, and did afllid her. 
When we were in the house, the child had one of her fits, 
but made no mention of Goodwife How ; and, when the 
nt was over, and she came to herself, Goodwife How went 
to the child, and took her by the hand, and asked her 
whether siic had ever done her any hurt ; and she answered, 
' No, never ; and, if I did complain of you in my fits, I 
knew not that I did so.' I further can allirm, upon oath, 
that young Samuel Perley, brother to the afflicted girl, 
looked out of a chamber window (I and ihe afilicted child 
being without doors together), and said to his sister, ' Say 
Goodwife How is a witch, — say she is a witch ; ' and the 
child spake not a word that way. But I looked up to 
the window where the youth stood, and rebuked him for his 
boldness to stir up his sister to accuse the said Goodwife 
How ; whereas she had cleared her from doing any hurt to 
his sister in both our hearing ; and I added, ' No wonder 
that the child, in her fits, did mention Goodwife How, when 
her nearest relations were so frequent in expressing their 
suspicions, in the child's heai-ing, when she w^as out of her 
fits, that the said Goodwife How was an instrument of mis- 
chief to the child.' " 

Mr. Paysoii, in reference to the same occasion, de- 
posed as follows : — 






" Bciii;; ill IVrlcy's Iiouso some coiisidoraMe time lu-fore 
the said (Joodwif'o How cnme in, their atliicted daii^rhter, 
upon soinetiiiii;; that her mother spake to her with tartness, 
presently fell into ouc; of her nsiial strange fits, durin<; which 
she ma<U; no mention (as I ohservod) of the nhovesaid IIoV 
licr nnmc, or any thing rehiting to lier. Some time after, the 
said How came in, when said girl had recovered her capa- 
city, her fit being over. Said How took said girl by the 
hand, and asked her whether she had ever done her any 
hnrt. The child answered, 'No; never,' with several ex- 
presoious to that purpose." 

The l)cariiig of Elizabeth ITow, under accusations 
so cruelly and slianiefully fabricated and circulated 
against her, cxliil)its one of the most beautiful i)ic- 
tures of a truly forgiving s})irit and of Christlikc 
love anywhere to be found. Several witnesses say, 
" We often spoke to her of sonic things that were 
reported of her, that gave some suspicion of that she 
is noAv charged with ; and she, always professing her 
innocency, often desired our prayers to God for her, 
that God would keep her in his fear, f'.iid sui)port 
her under her burden. We have often heard her 
speaking of those persons that raised those reports of 
her, and we never heard her speak badly of them for 
the same ; l)ut, in our hearing, hath often said that 
she desired God that he would sanctify that afTliction, 
as well as others, for her spiritual good." Others tes- 
tified to the same efTect. Simon Chapman, and ^fary, 
his wife, say that " they had been acquainted with the 
wife of James How, Jr., as a neighbor, for this nine or 


wrrnirnAPT at salkm village. 


1 1 


toll years;" that they had resided in tho same lioiisc 
■with her " hy the fortiiight togiither ; " that they never 
knew any thing hut wliat was good in her. Tlicy 
*' Ibiuid, at all times, hy her discourse, she was a 
■woman of a(liietioii, and mourning for sin in herself 
and others ; and, when she met with any arilietion, she 
Beemed to justify (Jod and say that it was all hotter 
than she deserved, though it was hy fiilso aeeusatioiis 
from men. She used to hless Clod that she got good 
by alllietion; for it made her examine her own heart. 
AVc never heard her revile any person that hath ac- 
cused licr with witchcraft, hut i)itied them, and said, 
* I pray God forgive them ; for they harm themselves 
more than inc. Though I am a great sinner, I am 
clear of that ; and such kind of atliiction doth but 
set me to examining my own heart, and I find God 
■wonderfully supi»orting me and comforting me by his 
•word and i)romises.' " 

Joseph Knowltoii and his wife ^lary, who had lived 
near her, and sometimes . .. the same family with her, 
testified, that, having, heard tlic stories toid about 
her, they were led to — 

*' take special notice of hor life and couversation ever since. 
And I have asked her if she could freely forgive them that 
raised such reports of her. She told me yes, with all her 
heart, desiriug that God would give her a heart to be more 
humble under such a providence ; and, further, she said she 
was willing to do any good she could to those who had done 
unueighhorly by her. Also this I have taken notice, that she 
would deny herself to do a neighbor a good turn." 





Tho fatluM" of li(M' Imsbninl, — .Taincs TTow, Pr.,n;r»'<l 
altoiit iiiiuitytour .yciirs, — in a coinniuiiicatiuii lul- 
(Irossed to tlu; (yourt, dcclaicMl that — - 

"he, liviti;^ by her fur about tliiity years, biUli taken notice 
that she hath cnrrii'd it \ViA\ becoming' her phu'c, as a »liinj;li- 
ter, as a wife, in all rtilations, si'ttiti;^ asiih- human infirmi- 
ties, as beconieth n Christian ; with respect to niysclC as n 
father, very (hitifully ; and as a wife to my son, very careful, 
lovrn;;, obedient, and kind, — consi(UMin;jf his want of eye- 
sight, tenderly leading him nliout by the hand. Desiring 
God may guide your honors, ... I rest yours to serve." 

The only evidence against this good woman — he 
yond the outcries and (its of tin; '•alllicted children," 
enacted in their usual skilful and artful style — cou- 
sisted of the most wretched gossij) ever circulated iu 
an ignorant and h'^"iglited coninuinity. It came from 
people in the l)ack seiLivjinents of I}»swicli and Tops- 
field, and disclosed a dep+li of absurd and brutal su])er- 
stition, which it is dinicult to believe ever existed in 
New England. So far as those living in secluded 
and remote localities arc regarded, this was the most 
benighted period of our history. Except where, as 
in Salem Village, special circumstances had kept up 
the general intelligence, there was much darkness 
on the ])0])ular mind. The education that came over 
with the first emigrants from the mother-country had 
gone with them to their graves. The system of com- 
mon schools had not begun to produce its fruit in 
the thinly })eojded outer settlements. There is no 
more disgraceful page in our annals than that which 



" i! 

details the testimony given at the trial, and records the 
conviction and execution, of Elizabeth How. 

But the dr.rk shadows of that day of folly, cruelty, 
and crime, .served to bring into a brighter and purer 
light virtues exhibited by many persons. We meet 
affecting instances, all along, of family fidelity and 
true Christian benevolence James How, as has been 
stated, was stricken witl» blindness. He had two 
daughters, Mary and Abigail. Although their farm 
was out of the line of the public-roads, travel very diffi- 
cult, and they must have encountered many hardships, 
annoyances, and, it is to be feared, sometimes unfeeling 
treatment by the way, one of them accompanied their 
father, twice every week, to visit their mother in her 
prison-walls. They came on horseback ; she man- 
aging the bridle, and guiding him by, the hand after 
alighting. Their humble means were exhausted in 
these offices of reverence and affection. One of the 
noble girls made her way to Boston, sought out the 
Governor, and implored a reprieve for her mother ; 
but in vain. The sight of these young women, leading 
their blind father to comfort and provide for their 
"honored mother, — as innocent," as they declared 
her to be, " of the crime charged, as any person in the 
world," — so faithful and constant in their filial love 
and duty, relieved the horrors of the scene ; and it 
ought to be held in perpetual remembrance. The 
shame of that day is not, and will not be, forgotten ; 
neitlier should its beauty and glory. 

The name of Elizabeth How, before marriage, was 





Jackson. Among tlic accounts rendered against the 
country for expenses incurred in the witchcraft prose- 
cutions are these two items : " For John Jackson, Sr., 
one pair of fetters, five shillings ; for Jolin Jackson, 
Jr., one pair of fetters, five shillings." There is also 
an item for carrying " the two Jacksons " from one 
jail to another, and back again. No other reference to 
them is found among the papers. They were, per- 
haps, a brother and nephew of Elizabeth flow. There 
is reason to suppose that her husband, James How, 
Jr., was a nephew of the Rev. Francis Dane, of An- 

The examination of Job Tookey, of Beverly, presents 
some points worthy of notice. He is descril)ed as 
a " laborer," but was evidently a person, althougli j)er- 
haps inconsiderate of s})cech, of more than common 
discrimination, and not wholly deluded by the tanati- 
cism of the times. He is charged with having said 
that he " would take Mr. Burroughs's ])art ; " " that 
he was not the Devil's servant, but the Devil was his." 
When the girls testified that they saw his shape afliict- 
ing persons, he answered, like a sensible man, if they 
really saw any such thing, " it was not he, l)ut the 
Devil in his shape, that hurts the peoj)le." Susaiuia 
Sheldon, Mary Warren, and Ann Putnam, all de- 
clared, that, at that very moment while the examina- 
tion was going on, two men and two women and one 
child " rose from the dead, and cried, ' Vengeance ! 
vengeance 1 ' " Nobody else saw or heard any thing : 
but the girls suddenly became dumb ; their eyes were 




fixed Oil vacancy, all looking towards tlic same spot ; 
and tlicir whole a}»})caraiicc gave assurance of tlie 
truth of what they said. In a short time, Mary "War- 
ren recovered the use of her vocal organs, and ex- 
claimed, " There are three men, and three women, and 
two children. They arc all in their winding-sheets : 
they look pale upon us, bui red upon Tookey, — red as 
blood." Again, she exclaimed, in a startled and 
affrighted manner, " There is a young child under the 
table, crying out for vengeance." Elizabeth Booth, 
pointing to the same place, was struck speechless. 
In this way, the nmrder of about every one wlio had 
died at Royal Side, for a year or two past, was put 
upon Tookey. Some of them were called by name ; 
the others, the girls pretended not to recognize. The 
wrath and horror of the whole community were ex- 
cited against him, and he was committed to jail, by the 
order of the magistrates, — Bartholomew Godney, 
Jonathan Corwiii, and John Ilathorne. 

No character, indeed, however blamcloss lovely or 
venerable, was safe. The malignant accusers struck 
at the highest marks, and tlie consuming fire of popu- 
lar frenzy was kindled and attracted towards the most 
conmianding objects. Mary Bradbury is described, in 
the indictment against her, as the " wife of Captain 
Thomas Bradbury, of Salisbury, in the county of Es- 
sex, gentleman." A few of the documents that are 
preserved, l>elonging to her case, will give some idea 
what sort of a person she was : — 



" The Ansioer of Mary Bradhury to the Charge of Witch- 
crafty or Familiarity loith the Devil. 


I do plead ' Not guilty.' I am wholly inuocent of any 
such wickedness, through the goodness of God that have kept 
me hitherto. I am the servant of Jesus Christ, and liave 
given myself up to him as my only Lord and Saviour, and to 
the diligent attendance upon him in all his holy ordinances, in 
utter contempt and defiance of the Devil and all his works, as 
horrid and detestable, and, accordingly, have endeavored to 
frame my life and conversation according to the rules of his 
holy word ; and, in that faith and practice, resolve, by the 
help and assistance of God, to continue to my life's end. 

" For the truth of what I say, as to matter of practice, I 
humbly refer myself to my brethren and neighbors that know 
me, and unto the Searcher of all hearts, for the truth and 
uprightness of my heart therein (human frailties and un- 
avoidable infirmities excepted, of which I bitterly complain 
every day). Mauy BuADnuKY." 

"July 28, 1G92. — Concerning my beloved wife, Mary 
Bradbury, this is what I have to say : We have been married 
fifty-five years, and she hath been a loving and faithful wife 
to me. Unto this day, she hath been wonderful laborious, 
diligent, and industrious, in her place and employment, about 
the bringing-up of our family (which have been eleven chil- 
dren of our own, and four grandchildren). She was both 
prudent and provident, of a cheerful spirit, liberal and char- 
itable. She being now very aged and weak, and grieved 
under her aflliction, may not be able to speak much for her- 
self, not being so free of speech as some others may be. 
I hope her life and conversation have been such amongst her 

VOL. 11. 15 

I 'i 




|1 ! 

! i 


neiglibors as gives a better and more real testimony of her 
than can bo expressed by words. 

"Owned by mc, Tiio. Buaduuky." 

The Rev. James Ailiii made oath before Robert Pike, 
an assistant and magistrate, as follows : — 

" I, having lived nine years at Salisbury in the -work of 
the ministry, and now four years in tlie office of a pastor, to 
my best notice and observation of Mrs. Bradbury, she hath 
lived according to the rules of the gospel amongst us ; was a 
constant attender upon the ministry of the word, and all the 
ordinances of the gospel ; full of works of charity and mercy 
to the sick and poor : neither have I seen or heard any thing 
of her unbecoming the profession of the gospel." 

Robert Pike also affirmed to the trntli of ^Ir. Allin's 
statement, from " npwards of fifty years' experience," 
as did John Pike also: they both declared themselves 
ready and desirous to give their testimony before the 

One hundred and seventeen of her neighl)ors — the 
larger part of them heads of families, and embracing 
the most respectable pco})le of that vicinity — signed 
their names to a pajjer, of which the following is a 
copy : — 

" Concerning Mrs. Bradbury's life and conversation, Ave, 
the subscribers, do testify, that it was such as became the 
gospel : she was a lover of the ministry, in all appearance, 
and a diligent attender upon God's holy ordinances, being of 
a courteous and peaceable disposition and cai'riage. Neither 
did any of us (some of whom have lived in the town Avith her 





is a 

1, Ave, 

mg of 

ahovc fifty yctirs) ever hear or ever know that she ever had 
any difTerence or falUng-ont with any of licr nei'^hbors, — 
man, woman, or eliikl, — but was always ready and willing 
to do for them what lay in her power night and day, though 
Avith hazard of her health, or other danger. More might be 
spoken in her commendation, but this for the present." 

Although this aged matron and excellent Christian 
lady was convicted and sent need to death, it is most 
satisfactory to find that she escaped from prison, and 
her life was saved. 

The following facts show the weight which ought to 
have been attached to these statements. The position, 
as well as character and age, of Mary [Perkins] Brad- 
bury entitled her to the highest consideration, in the 
structure of society at that time. This is recognized 
in the title "Mrs.," uniformly given her. She had 
been noted, through life, for business capacity, energy, 
and influence ; and, in 1G92, was probably seventy-five 
years of age, and somewhat infirm in health. Her 
husband, Thomas Bradbury, had been a prominent 
character in the colony for more than fifty years. In 
1041, he was appointed, by the Genei-al Court, Clerk of 
the Writs for Salisburv, with the functions of a magis- 
trate, to execute all sorts of legal processes in that 
place. He was a dei)uty in 1051 and many subse- 
quent years ; a commissioner for Salisbury in 10')7, 
empowered to act in all criminal cases, and bind over 
offenders, where it was proper, to higher courts, to 
take testimonies upon oath, and to join persons in 
marriage, lie was re(iuired to kec]) a record of all his 

^ 3 


! t 



doings. If the parties agreed to that effect, lie was 
autliorized to hear and determine cases of every kind 
and degree, without tlie intervention of a jury. The 
towns north of the Merrimac, and all beyond now 
within the limits of New Hampshire, constituted the 
County of Norfolk ; and Tliomas Bradbury, for a long 
series of years, was one of its commissioners and as- 
sociate judges. From the first, he was conspicuous 
in military matters ; having been commissioned by the 
General Court, in 1648, Ensign of the trainband in 
Salisbi-ry. Ho rose to its command ; and, in the latter 
portion of his life, was universally spoken of as " Cap- 
tain Bradbui^ ." All along, the records of the General 
Court, for half a century, demonstrate the estimation 
in which he was held ; various important trusts 
and special services requiring integrity and ability 
being from time to time committed to him. His 
family was influentially connected. His son William 
married the widow of Samuel Maverick, Jr., who was 
the son of one of the King's Commissioners in 1GG4 : 
she was the daughter of the Rev. John Wheelwright, 
a man of great note, intimately related to the cele- 
brated Anne Hutchinson, and united with her by 
sympathy in sentiment and participation in exile. 

Robert Pike, born in 1616, was a magistrate in 1644. 
He was deputy from Salisbury in 1648, and many 
times after ; Associate Justice for Norfolk in 1650 ; 
and Assistant in 1682, holding that high station, by 
annual elections, to the close of the fii'st charter, and 
during the whole period of the intervening and insur- 





gent government. ITe was named as one of the 
council that succeeded to the House of Assistants, 
when, under the new charter, Massacluisetts became 
a royal province. Ho was always at the head of 
military affairs, having l)cen conunissioned, by the 
General Court, Lieutenant of the Salisbury trainband 
in 1(348 ; and, in the later years of his life, he held the 
rank and title of major. John Pike, })robably his son, 
resided in Hampton in 1091, and was minister of 
Dover at his death hi 1710. 

Surely, the attestations of such men as the Pikes, 
father and son, and the Rev. James Allin, to the 
Christian excellence of Mary Bradbury, nuist be al- 
lowed to corroborate fully the declarations of her 
neighbors, her husband, and herself. 

The motives and influences that led to her arrest and 
condemnation in 1692 demand an explanation. The 
question arises. Why should the attention of the accu- 
sing girls have been led to this aged and most re- 
spectable woman, living at such a distance, beyond the 
Merrimac ? A critical scrutiny of the papers in 
the case affords a clew leading to the true answer. 

The wife of Sergeant Thomas Putnam, as has been 
stated (vol. i. p. 253), was Ann Carr of Salisbury. 
xler father, George Carr, was an early settler in that 
place, and appears to have been an enterprising and 
prosperous person. The ferry for the main travel of 
the country across the Merrimac Avas from points 
of land owned by him, and always under his charge. 
He was oigagcd in ship-building, — employing, and 



having in his family, young- men ; among them a son of 
Zeru])abel EncUcott, bearing the same name. 

Among the papers in the case is the follow- 

ing : 

"The Deposition op Richard Carii, who testifietli and 
saith, tlmt, about thirteen years ago, presently after some 
(litference tliat happened to be between my honored fatlier, 
Mr. George Carr, and Mrs. Bradbury, the prisoner at tlie bar, 
upon a sabbath at noon, as we were riding home, by the 
house of Captain Tho : Bradbury, I saw Mrs. Bradbury go 
into her gate, turn the corner of, and immediately there 
darted out of her gate a blue boar, and darted at my father's 
horse's legs, Avhich made him stumble ; but I saw it no more. 
And my father said, ' Boys, what do you see ? ' We both 
ausAvercd, ' A blue boar.' 

" Zerubaijel Exdicott testifietli and saith, that I lived at 
Mr. George Carr, now deceased, at the time above mentioned, 
and was present with Mr. George Carr and Mr. Richard 
Carr. And I also saw a blue boar dart out of Mr. Brad- 
bury's gate to Mr. George Carr's horse's legs, which made 
him stumble after a strange manner. And I also saw the 
blue boar dart from Mr. Carr's horse's legs in at IMrs. Brad- 
bury's window. And Mr. Carr immediately said, ' Boys, 
what did you see ? ' And we both said, ' A blue boar.' Then 
said he, ' From whence came it ? ' And we said, ' Out of 
Mr. Bradbury's gate.' Then said he, ' I am glad you see it 
as well as I.* Jurat in Curia, Sept. 9, '92." 

Stephen Sewall, the clerk of the courts, with his 
usual eagerness to make the most of the testimony 
against persons accused, adds to the deposition the 
following : — 



" And tlioy both further say, on their oatlis, that Mr. 
Carr discoursed witli them, us they went home, about what 
had happened, and they all coiicUided that it was Mrs. 
Bradliury that so appeared as a blue boar." 

At the date of this occuiTeiicc, Ricliard Carr was 
twenty years of age, and Zerubabel Kndicott a lad of 
of fifteen. 

It is not to be wondered at that there was " some 
diffei-ence between" George Carr and Mrs. ]>rad1)nry, 
if he was in the habit of indulginti' in such talk about 
her as he took the leading part in on this occasion. 
He evidently encouraged in his "boys" the absurd 
imaginations with which their credulity had been 
stimulated. They were prepared by preconceived no- 
tions to witness something preternatural about the 
premises of ^Mrs. Bradbury ; and, in their jaundiced 
vision, any animal, moving in and out of the gate, 
might naturally assume the likeness of a " blue boar." 
Such ideas circulating in the family, and among the 
apprentices of Carr, w^ould soon be widely spread. 
No doubt, Zerubabel, on his visits to his home, told 
wondrous stories about Mrs. Bradljury. His Ijrother 
Pamuel, then a youth of eighteen, had his imagination 
filled with them ; and some time after, on a voyage to 
" Barbadoos and Saltitudos," in which severe storms 
and various disasters were cx})crienced, attributed them 
all to Mrs. Bradbury ; and, '' in a bright moonshining 
night, sitting upon the windlass, to which he had been 
sent forward to look out for land," the wild fancies of 
his excited imagination took effect. He heard " a 



ruiiibling iiuisc," and thought ho saw tlie legs of sonic 
person. " l^resently he was shook, and looked over 
Ids shoulder, and saw the appearance of a woman, 
from her middle upwards, having a white caj) and 
white neckcloth on her, which then atrrighted him very 
much ; and, as he was turning of the windlass, he saw 
the aforesaid two legs." Such superstitious phantasms 
seem to he natural to the exjteriences of sailor-life, 
and })erliaps still linger in the forecastle and at the 

The ha))it of maligning Mrs. Bradhiiry as a witch 
dated l)ack in the Carr family more than thirteen years, 
as the following deposition i)roves. I give it precisely 
as it is in the original. As in a few other instances in 
this work, the spelling and punctuation are })reservcd 
as curiosities. Like all the papers in the case, with 
one exception, presented in court against Mrs. Brad- 
hury, it is in the handwriting of Sergeant Thomas 
Putnam : — 

" The Deposistion of James Caur. wlio testifieth and 
snith thut about 20 years agoe one day as I was accidently 
att the house of mr wheleright and his daughter the widdow 
maverick then lined there : and she then did most curtuously 
invite me to com oftener to the house and wondered I was 
grown such a stranger, and with in a few days affter one 
evening I went thether againe : and when I came thether 
againe : william Bradbery was y"^ who Avas then a suter to 
the said widdow but I did not know it tell affterwards : 
affter I came in the widdow did so corsely treat the sd 
william Bradbery that he went away semeiug to be augury : 




presently affier this I wjih taken afTlcu' a stniti;^(> manor as if 
liiicin;,' creatnrs did run abont euery part of my body redy 
to tare me to peaces and so I continewed for about I) (jurters 
of a year by times i^ I applyed myself to <loetor Crosbc who 
gave me a j^rate deal of visek but could make non work tho 
lie steept tobacco in bosit drink be could make non to work 
vliere upon ho tould me that he beleved I was behaf^ed : 
and I tould him I had thou;jrht so a good while : and he 
asked me by hom I tould him I did not care for spaking for 
one was counted au honest woman : but he uging I tould 
liim and he said he did beleve that m'" Bradbery was a grat 
deal worss then goody nuutin : then })resently affter this ouc 
night I being a bed (k brod awake there came sumthing to 
me which I thought was a catt and went to strick it ofe the 
bed and was sezed fast that I could not stir hedd nor foot, 
but by ami coming to my strenth I herd sumthing a coming to 
me agaii.e and I prepared my self to strick it : and it coming 
upon the bed I did strick at it and I beleve I hit it : and 
after that visek would work on me and I beleve in my hart 
that m'* Bradbery the prisoner att the barr has often afllec- 
ted me by acts of wicthcraft. 

" Jurat in Curia Sep!"^ D. 92. " * 

* In the innumerable depositions written by Thomas Putnam, he is 
not so careful to be correct, in his chirography and construction, as in 
his parish-reconls. But, if the reader is incUned to make tlie experi- 
ment, lie will find, that, if the above document should be properly 
pointed and spellc.l, according to our fashion at the present day, it 
would read well, and is clearly and forcibly put together. Spelling, at 
that time, was phonetic, and it enables us to ascertain the tiien preva- 
lent pronunciation of words. " Corsely," no doubt, shows how tiie 
word was then spoken. " Anguvy " was, with a large class of words 
now dissyllables, then a tris^ 'I'lble. " Tould," "spaking," ntid many 
other words above, are spellei just as they were then pronounced. 








But tlio wliolo of (Joorg'c Carr's family did not sym- 
pntlii/e ill lliis niorliid state of itrcjiidice, or cliciisli 
sii(j|i foolisli and niali}i,iiaiit faiicios, aj^aiiist ^Frs. IJrad- 
biiry. One of tlio sons, William, had married, Au|^. 
20, 1(172, Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Tike. It ap- 
pears, by the following disposition, whieh is in the 
liandwriting of Major Pike, that there had been an- 
other love affair between the families, leading to a 
melaiieholy result, inflaming still more the morbid and 
malign prejudice against ^Irs. ]>radbury ; but William 
repudiated it utterly : — 

" The Testimony of William Caku, aged forty-one, or 
thereabouts, is that my brother John Carr, when he was 
young, was a man of as good capacity as most men of Ins 
age ; bat falling in love with Jane Trno (now wife of Captain 

" Wictlicraft " is always, I believe, spelled this way by Thomas Put- 
nani. lie had not got rid of the old Anglo-Saxon sound of the word 
"witch," brought by his father from Buckiughamshire, sixty years 
before, — " wicca." 

The condition of medical science and practice, at that period, is curi- 
ously illustrated in this paper. It is plain that the distemper of James 
Carr was purely in the realm of the sensibilities and fancy ; and "doctor 
Crosbe " is not wholly to blame because his " visek " did not " work." 
A good smart nightmare, with a feeling that he had given a thorough 
basting to the spectre, in the form of a cat, of the sujiposed author of 
Ills woful and aggravated disappointment in love, was what he needed ; 
and it cured him. "A posset of sack" was FalstaflTs refuge, from the 
plight into which he had been led by " building upon a foolish woman's 
promise," when he emerged from the Thames and the "buck-basket." 
Many others, no doubt, in drowning sorrow and mortification, have 
found it " the sovereignest thing on earth." But, as administered by 
physicians of the Dr. Crosby school, with tobacco steeped in it, it must 
liave been a " villanous compound," 



John ]SIar('h\ and my fatlu'r hcinjj porsnnclcd hy [ ] of 
the fiiinily (which I .shnll not niinic) not to let him marry 
80 younj,', my liitlu^r wouM not ;^ivc him Ji portion, where- 
upon the mutch l>rokc oil", whicli my hrothcr hi id so niucli to 
heart that ho p^n-w nudanclioly, and hy <h'<,'rees mnch crazed, 
not bein;; the man, that he was before, to liis dyin^r <hiy. 

" I (h> further testify that my said brother was sick about 
a fortnight or three weeks, and then died ; and I was present 
with him wlien he died. And I do allirm that he died peace- 
ably and ([uietly, never manifesting the least trouble in the 
worhl about anybody, nor did not say any thing of Mrs. 
Bradbiuy nor anybody else (h)ing him hurt ; and yet I was 
witli him till the breath and life were out of his body." 

Tin- usual form, jurat in curia, is written at the foot 
of this deposition, but evidently by a much later hand ; 
and this leads me to mention the improbability that 
any testimony in favor of the accused ever reached 
the Court at the trials. They had no counsel : the 
attorney-general bad prejudged all the cases ; and bis 
mind and those of the judges repudiated utterly any 
thing like an investigation. Every friendly voice was 
silenced. The doors were closed against the defence. 
Robert Pike, an assistant under the old and a council- 
lor under the new government, endeavored in vain to 
enter them. 

William Carr was a person of great res])cctability, 
and bore the appointment, by the General Court, of 
land-surveyor for the towns in tlic northern part of 
tbe present county of Essex. 

Tlie member of tlio family who — as stated in the 







foregoing deposition — prevented tlic matcli, all the cir- 
cumstances seem to indicate, was Mrs. Ann Putnam. 
She perliaps had experienced the effects of a too early 
mar \age, bringing the burden of life upon the consti- 
tution and the ch iracter before they are mature enough 
to bear it. She may have attributed to this cause 
the troubles and trials with which her cup had been so 
bitterly filled, and the blasting of the ha})piness of her 
youth. Half deranged, as perpetual excitement from 
the parish quarrels in refo'cnce to ^Ir. Bayley had made 
her, she may have become morbidly opposed to the 
equally early marriage of a brother. Added to this was 
the fact that Henry True had married one of ]\Irs. Brad- 
bury's daughters, and that Jane True was his sister. 
It cannot be doubted tha-t she entertained the same 
ideas I'^.bout Mrs. Bradbury as her father and brothers, 
Jrices and Richard ; and, for this reason, also opposed 
the mutcli of her brother John. Wishing to be relieved 
from the self-reproach of having caused his derange- 
ment and death, when the witchcraft delusion broke 
oiit at Salem Village and she became wholly absorbed 
by it, as all other deaths and misfortunes were as- 
cribed to it, she avowed and maintained the belief, 
as some had suspected at the time, that the happi- 
ness, health, reason, and life of her brother had been 
destroyed by diabolical agency, practised by Mrs. Brad- 

In the state of things long subsisting between the 
Bradbury and Carr families, we find an explanation of 
the movement made against Mrs. Bradbury. Young 





Ann Putnum may have often heard lior unpleasantly- 
spoken of by her mother, and it was natural that she 
should have " cried out against her." 

The family of ^frs. Ann Putnam seem to have had 
constitutional traits that illustrate and cx})lain her own 
character and conduct. They wore excitable and sen- 
sitive to an extraordinary degree. Their judgment, 
reason, and physical systems, were subject to the pov/er 
of their fancies and affections. One of her brothers, 
in consequence of being badly coquetted with and jilted 
by a young widow, was thrown into an awful condition 
of body and mind " for about three-quarters of a 
year." The reason, health, and heart of another were 
broken ; and he sunk into an early gri^^ j, in conse- 
quence of having been crossed in love. The death of 
her sister Bayley may have been caused ])y the ludiappy 
controversies in the village parish. We have seen, 
and shall see, the all but maniac condition to which 
excitement brought her own mind. At last, the 
heaviest blow that can fall upon a fond wife suddenly 
snapped the brittle cord of her life. These considera- 
tions must be borne in mind, while we attempt to 
explain her conduct, and should throw the weight of 
pity and charity into the scales, if mortal judgment 
ventures to estimate her guilt. They are kiioAvn to 
the Infinite Mind, and never overlooked by divine 

I have introduced these singular private details to 
illustrate what the documents all along show, — that 
the proceedings against persons charged with witch- 



craft, in 1G02, "vvcrc instigated by all sorts of personal 
grudges and private pi(|ucs, many of them of long 
standing, fomented and kept alive by an unhappy in- 
dulgence of unworthy feelings, always ready to mix 
themselves with popular excitements, and leading all 
concerned headlong to the utmost extent of mischief 
and wrong. 

The case of ]\Iary Bradbury has been allow^ed to 
occupy so large a space, because I desire to disabuse 
the public mind of a great error on this subject. It 
has been too much sui)poscd, that the sufferers in the 
witchcraft delusion were generally of the inferior 
classes of society, and particularly ignorant and be- 
nighted. They were the very reverse. They mostly 
belonged to families in the Ijctter conditions of life, and, 
many of them, to the highest social level. They were 
all persons of great moral firmness and rectitude, as 
was demonstrated by their bearing under persecutions 
and outrage, and when confronting the terrors of death. 
Their names do not deserve reproach, and their memo- 
ries ought to be held in honor. 

The following account of the examination of Eliza- 
beth Gary of Charlcstown, given by her husband, 
Captain Gary, a shipmaster, has the highest interest, 
as written at the time by one who was an eye-witness, 
and participated in the sufferings of the occasion : — 

"May 24. — I having heard, some days, that my wife 
was accused of witchcraft ; being much disturbed at it, by 
advice weut to Salem Village, to see if the afflicted knew 
her : we arrived there ou the 24lh of May. It happened 




to be a day appointed for cxjimination ; accordingly, soon 
after our arrival, INIr. Ilatliorne and Mr. Corwin, &c., went 
to the inoeting-liou.-!o, which was the place appointed for that 
work. The minister began with prayer; and, having taken 
care to get a convenient place, I observed that the afllicted 
were, two girls of about ten years old, and about two or 
three others of about eighteen : one of the girls talked most, 
and could discern more than the rest. 

" The prisoners were called in one by one, and, as they 
came in, were cried out at, &c. The prisoners were placed 
about seven or eight feet from the justices, and the accusers 
between the justices and them. The prisoners were ordered 
to stand right before the justices, with an ollicer appointed to 
hold each hand, lest they should therewith afllict them : and 
the prisoners' eyes must be constantly on the justices; for, 
if they looked on the afiiicted, they would either fall into 
fits, or cry out of being hurt by them. After an examina- 
tion of the prisoners, who it was afflicted these girl?, &c., 
they were put upon saying the Lord's Prayer, as a trial of 
their guilt. After the afllicted seemed to be out of their 
fits, they would look steadfastly on some one person, and 
frequently not speak ; and then the justices said they were 
struck dumb, and after a little time would speak again : then 
the justices said to the accusers, ' Which of you will go 
and touch the prisoner at the bar ? ' Then the most coura- 
geous would adventure, but, before they had made three 
steps, would ordinarily fall down as in a fit : the justices 
ordered that they should be taken up and carried to the 
prisoner, that she might touch them ; and as soon as they 
were touched by the accused, the justices would say, ' They 
are well,' before I could discern any alteration, — by whicii 
I observed that the justices understood the manner of it. 




1 1' i 

Thus fur I was only as a spectator : my wife also was there 
part of the time, but no notice was taken of her by the 
afiiictcd, excei)t once or twice they came to her, and asked 
her name. IJnt I, having an opportunity to discourse Mr. 
Hale (with wliom I had formerly acquaintance), I took his 
advice what T had best do, and desired of him that I might 
have an opportunity to speak v, h her that accused my 
wife ; which lie promised should be, I acquainting him that 
I reposed my trust in him. Accordingly, he came to me 
after the examination was over, and told me I had now an 
opportunity to speak with the said accuser. A" gail Wil- 
liams, a girl eleven or twelve years old ; but tluit we could 
not be in private at Mr. Parris's house, as he had promised 
me : Ave went thei*efore into the alehouse, where an Indian 
man atlended us, who. it seems, was one of the afflicted ; to 
him we gave some cider : he showed several scars, that 
seemed as if they had been long there, and showed them 
as done by witchcraft, and acquainted us that his wife, who 
also was a slave, was imprisoned for witchcraft. And now, 
instead of one accuser, they all came in, and began to tumble 
down like swine ; and then three women Avere called in to 
attend them. "We in the room Avere all at a stand to see 
Avho they Avould cry out of; but in a short time they cried out 
' Gary ; ' and, immediately after, a Avarrant Avas sent from 
thfc justices to bring my Avife before them, Avho Avere sitting 
in a cliamber near by, Avaiting for this. Being brought 
before the justices, her chief accusers Avere tAvo girls. My 
Avife declared to the justices, that she never had any knowl- 
edge of them before that day. She Avas forced to stand 
Avitli her arms stretched out. I requested that I might hold 
one of her hands, but it Avas denied me : then she desired 
mo to Avipe the tears from her eyes, and the SAveat from her 




face, "wliich I did ; tlien she desired slie might lean herself 
on me, saying she should faint. Justice Ilathornc replied 
she had strength enough to torment these persons, and she 
should have strength enough to stand. I speaking some- 
thing against their cruel proceedings, they commanded me 
to be silent, or else I should be turned out of the room. 
The Indian before mentioned -was also brought in, to be 
one of her accusers ; being come in, he now (when before 
the justices) fell down, and tumbled about like a hog, but 
said nothing. The justices asked the girls who afllicted the 
Indian: they answered she (meaning my wife), and that 
she now lay upon him. The justices ordered her to touch 
him, in order to his cure, but her head must be turned 
another way, lest, instead of curing, she should make him 
worse by her looking on him, her hand being guided to 
take hold of his ; but the Indian took hold of her hand, and 
pulled her down on the floor in a barbarous manner : then 
his hand was taken olT, and her hand j.ut on his, and the 
cure was quickly wrought. I being extremely troubled at 
their inhuman dealings, uttered a hasty speech, 'That God 
■would take vengeance on them, and desired that God would 
deliver us out of the hands of unmerciful men.' Tlien her 
mittimus Avas writ. I did with difficulty and charge obtain 
the liberty of a room, but no beds in it; if there had been, 
could have taken but little rest that night. She was com- 
mitted to Boston prison ; but I obtained a haheas corpus to 
remove her to Cambridge prison, which is in our couniy of 
Middlesex. Having been there one night, next morning the 
jailer put irons on her legs (having received such a com- 
mand) ; the weight of fhem was about eight poun(\s : these 
irons and her other atllictions soon brought her into cou- 





1 ii 

vulsion fits, so that I thought she would have died that 
night. I sent to entreat that the irons might be taken oif ; 
but all entreaties were in vain, if it would have saved her 
life, so that in this condition she must continue. Tiie trials 
at Salem coming on, I went thither to see how things were 
managed : and finding that the spectre evidence was there 
received, together with idle, if not malicious stories, against 
people's lives, I did easily perceive which way the rest would 
go ; for the same evidence that served for one would serve 
for all the rest. I acquainted her with her danger ; and thai, 
if she were carried to Salem to be tried, I feared she would 
never return. I did my utmost that she might have her 
trial in our own county ; I with several others petitioning 
the judge for it, and were put in hopes of it : but I soon 
saw so much, that I understood thereby it was not in- 
tended ; which put me upon consulting the means of her 
escape, which, through the goodness of God, was effected, 
and she got to Rhode Island, but soon found herself not 
safe when there, by reason of the pursuit after her; from 
thence she went to New York, along with some others that 
had escaped their cruel hands, where we found his Excel- 
lency Benjamin Fletcher, Esq., Governor, who was very 
courteous to us. After this, some of my goods were seized 
in a friend's hands, with whom I had left them, and myself 
imprisoned by the sheriff', and kept in custody half a day, 
and then dismissed ; but to speak of their usage of the 
prisoners, and the inhumanity shown to them at the time 
of their execution, no sober Christian could bear. They 
had also trials of cruel mockings, which is the more, con- 
sidering Avhat a people for religion, I mean the profession 
of it, we have been ; those that suffered being many of 






tliem church members, anil most of them unspotted iu their 
conversation, till their adversary the Devil took up this 
method for accusing them. Jonathan Cauy." 

Tiie only account wc have, written by one wlio had 
actually experienced, in his own person, what it was 
to fall into the hands of those who got up and carried 
on the prosecutions, is the following. Captain Alden 
had probably been from an early stage in their o])cra- 
tions in the eye of the accusing girls. He was meant, 
perhaps, by what often fell from them about " the tall 
man in Boston." We are left entirely to conjecture 
as to the reason why they singled him out, as not one 
of them, we may be quite sure, had ever seen him. 
It may be that some person who had experienced 
discipline under his orders as a naval commander 
bore him a grudge, and took pains to suggest his 
name to the girls, and provided them with the coarse, 
vulgar, and ridiculous scandal they so recklessly 
poured out upon him: — 

^^ An Account hoio John Alden, Sr., ivas dccdl ivith at Salem 


"John Alden, Sr., of Boston, in the county of .Suffolk, 
mariner, on the twenty-eighth day of May, 1G'J2, was 
sent for by the magistrates of Srloni, in the comity of 
P2ssex, upon the accusation of a company of poor distracted 
or possessed creatures or witches ; and, being sent by Mr. 
Stoughton, arrived there on the 31st of May, and appeared 
at Salem Village before Mr. Gedney, Mr. Ilathorne, and 
Mr. Corwin. 

" Those wenches being present who played their jug- 

i -V 

• I 



gliug tricks, ftilMng down, crying out, and staring in people's 
fjiccs, the magistrates demanded of tliem several times, 
Avlio it was, of all the people in the room, that hurt them. 
One of these accusers pointed several times at one Captain 
Hill, there present, but spake nothing. The same accuser 
had a man standing at her back to hold her up. lie stooped 
down to her ear : then she cried out, ' Aldeu, Aldeu afllicted 
her.' One of the magistrates asked her if she had ever 
seen Alden. She answered, ' No.' He asked her how she 
knew it was Alden. She said the man told her so. 

" Then all Avere ordered to go down into the street, 
where a ring Avas made ; and the same accuser cried out, 
' There stands Alden, a bold fellow, with his hat on before 
the judges : he sells powder and shot to the Indians and 
French, and lies with the Indian squaws, and has Indian 
I)apooses.' Then was Alden committed to the marshal's 
custody, and his sword taken from him ; for they said he 
afflicted them with his SAvord. After some hours, Alden 
was sent for to the meeting-house in the Village, before 
the magistrates, who required Alden to stand upon a chair, 
to the open view of all the people. 

" The accusers cried out that Alden pinched them then, 
when he stood upon the chair, in the sight of all the people, 
a good way distant from them. One of the magistrates 
bid the marshal to hold open Alden's hands, that he might 
not pinch those creatures. Alden asked them why they 
should think that he should come to that village to afflict 
those persons that he never knew or saAV before. Mr. 
Gedney bid Aldeu to confess, and give glory to God. Alden 
said he hoped he should give glory to God, and hoped he 
should never gratify the Devil : but appealed to all that ever 
knew him, if they ever suspected him to be such a person ; 



i "V^ 




and cliallcngod miy one that oould bring in any thing on 
their own knowledge, that might give suspicion of his being 
such an one. Mr. Gedney said he had known Ahkui many 
years, and had l)oen at sea with liim, and always looked 
upon him to be an honest man ; but now he ft.xw cause to 
alter his judgment. Alden answered, he was sorry for that, 
but he hoped God would clear up his innocency, that he 
Avould recall that judgment again ; and added, that he hoped 
that he should, with Job, maintain his integrity till he died. 
They bid Alden look uj)on the accusers, which he did, and 
then they fell down. Alden asked Mr. Gedney whr^ reason 
there could be given why Alden's looking upon him did 
not strike /wn down as well ; but no reason was given that 
I heard. But the accusers were brought to Alden to touch 
them ; and this touch, they said, made them well. Alden 
began to speak of the providence of God in sutVering these 
creatures to accuse innocent persons. ISIr. Noyes asked 
Alden why he should offer to speak of the providence of 
God: God, by his providence (said Mr. Noyes), governs 
the world, and keeps it in peace ; and so went on with 
discourse, and stopped Alden's mouth as to that. Alden 
told Mr. Gedney that he could assure him that there was a 
lying spirit in them ; for I can assure you that there is not 
a word of truth in all these say of me. But Alden was 
ajrain committed to the marshal, and his mittimus written. 

" To Boston Alden was carried by a constable : no bail 
would be taken fur him, but was delivered to the prison- 
keeper, where he remained fifteen weeks ; and then, observ- 
ing the manner of trials, and evidence then taken, was at 
length prevailed with to make his escape. 

'•• Per John Alden." 


< i 



;'-'f.! , 
J i ■ 


'I • *' -■!' ! 


I I 



Aldou made his escape about the middle of Septem- 
ber, at tlie bloodiest crisi , jf the tragedy, and just 
before the execution of nine of the victims, including 
that of Giles Corey. Ho is understood to have l^ed 
to Duxbury, where his relatives secreted him. lie 
made Ids appearance among thorn late at night ; and, 
on their asking an explanation of his unexpected visit 
at that hour, replied that he was flying from the 
Devil, and the Devil was after him. After a while, 
when the delusion had abated, and people were com- 
ing to their senses, he delivered himself up, and was 
bound over to the Sui)erior Court at Boston, the last 
Tuesday in A})ril, lt)98, when, no one appearing to 
prosecute, he, with some hundred and fifty others, was 
discharged by proclamation, and all judicial proceed- 
ings brought to a close. It is to bo feared, that ever 
after, to his dying day, when the subject of his ex- 
perience on the 31st of May, 1692, was referred to, 
the old sailor indulged in rather strong expressions 
in relating his reminiscences of Rev. " Mr. Nicho- 
las Noycs," " Mr. Bartholomew Gedney," and the 
" wenches " of Salem Village. 

Captain John Alden was a son of John Alden, 
ever memorable as one of the first founders of Plym- 
outh Colony. He had been for more than thirty 
years a resident of Boston, a member of the church, 
and in all respects a leading and distinguished man. 
For some time, he had been commander of the armed 
vessel belonging to the colony, and was a brave and 
efficient officer and an able and experienced mari- 

it I * 




ncr. lie liad scon service in French and Tiitlian wars, 
had acted two years before, tluit is in iODO, as com- 
missioner in condncting nem'otiutions with tlie native 
tril)es, and, at a hiter period, was cliarged with im})or- 
tant trnsts as a naval comnuuider. He was a man 
of hii-ge property, and seventy years of age. Ua was, 
as well he might he, ntterly confounded and ama/ed 
in finding himself charged as a principal culj)rit in 
the Salem witchcraft. The accusing girls were evi- 
dently delighted to get hold of such a notable and 
doughty character ; and their tongues were released, 
on the occasion, from all restraints of decorum and 
decency. When the ring was formed around him 
" in the street," in front of Deacon Ingersoll's door, 
his sword unbuckled from his side, and such foul 
and vulgar aspersions cast upon his good name, ho 
felt, no doubt, that it would have been better to have 
fallen into the hands of savages of the wilderness or 
pirates on the sea, than of the crowd of audacious 
girls that hustled him about in Salem Village. It 
was a relief to his wounded honor, and gave leisure 
for the workings of his indignant resentment, to escape 
from them into Boston jail. Not only his old ship- 
mate, Bartholomew Gedney, but, as will be seen, the 
learned attorney-general, who was present, and wit- 
nessed the whole affair, was fully convhiced of his 

The wife of an honest and worthy man in Andover 
was sick of a fever. After all the usual means had 
failed to check the symptoms of her disease, the idea 

1 ll 

I i 



l)Ccnino provaloiit lliat slio wns siiflc'ilnnj iindor an 
"evil liMiid." Tlif IhisIkukI, pursuant of the advice 
of friends, |»()st(Ml down to Sahnu \'illa<^'(; to ascertain 
from ti»(! allliL'tcMl girls who was bowitcliinji; his wife. 
Two of tliem returned with him to And«)ver. Never 
did a jdaco receive such fatal visitors. 'I'he CJi-ecian 
liorsi; did not bring greater consternation to ancient 
Ilium, hnmediately after their arrival, they succeeded 
in getting more than lil'ly of the iidiahitants into 
jtrison, several of whom were hanged. A perfect panic 
swept like a hurricane over the i)lace. The idea seized 
all minds, as Hutchinson expresses it, that the only 
" way to prevent an accusation was to become an 
The number of the atllicted increased 



u ^1^ 

every day, and the number of the accused in pro- 
portion." In this state of things, such a great acces- 
sion being made to the ranks of the confessing 
witches, the power of the delusion became irresistibly 
strengthened. Mr. Dudley Uradstreet, the magistrate 
of the }»lace, after having committed about forty per- 
sons to jail, concluded he had done enough, and de- 
clined to arrest any more. The conse(i[uence was 
that he and his wife were cried out upon, and they 
had to fly for their lives. They accused his brother, 
John Bradstreet, with having " afflicted " a dog. IJrad- 
strect escaped by flight. The dog was executed. The 
number of persons who had publicly confessed that 
they had entered into a league with Satan, and ex- 
ercised the dial)olical power thus acquired, to the 
injury, torment, and death of innocent parties, pro- 







(liicod a profound cn't'ct upon lli(> piil»lic iniiid. At 
tlio same time, the accusers liad everywhere increased 
in number, owin;:," (o the iMllanicd st:ite of Imiiuina- 
tion universally [nevalcnt which ascrihcfl all ailments 
or diseases to the agency of witches, to a mere love 
of notoriety and a passion for general sympathy, to 
a desire to bo secure against the charge of bewitching 
others, or to a malicious disposition to wreak ven- 
geance uj)on eiuMuics. 'V\n) pi-isons in Salem, Ipswich, 
]^)ston, and Cambridge, W(!re crowded. All the secu- 
rities of society were dissolved. Every man's life was 
at the mercy of every otluu' man. Fear sat on every 
countenance, terror and distress were in all hearts, 
silence i)ervaded the streets : all who could, (piit the 
country; business was at a stand; a conviction sunk 
into the minds of men, that a dark and infernal con- 
federacy had got foot-hold in the land, threatening to 
overthrow and extir]»atc religion and morality, and 
establish the kingdom of the Prince of darkness in 
a country which had been dedicated, by the j)rayers 
and tears and su-lTerings of its pious fathers, to the 
Church of Christ and the service and worship of 
the true God. The feeling, dismal and horri)>le in- 
deed, became general, that the providence of Ood 
was removed from them ; that Satan was let loose, 
and he and his confederates had free and unre- 
strained power to go to and fro, torturing and destroy- 
ing -whomever ho willed. We cannot, by any extent 
of research or power of imagination, enter fully into 
the ideas of the people of that day ; and it is tlicrc- 









fore absolutely impossible to appreciate the awful con- 
dition of the community at the point of time to which 
our narrative has led us. 

In the midst of this state of things, the old colony 
of Massachusetts was transformed into a royal j)rov- 
incc, and a new government organized. Sir William 
Phips, the governor, arrived at Boston, Avith the 
new charter, on the evening of the 14th of May. 
William Stoughton, of Dorchester, superseded Thomas 
Danforth as de[mty-governor. In the Council, which 
took the place of the Assistants, most of the former 
body were retained. Bartholomew Gcdncy had a few 
years before been dropped from the board of Assistants. 
He was now placed in the Council with John Hathorne, 
Jonathan Corwin, Samuel Appleton, and Robert Pike, 
of this county. The new government did not interfere 
with the proceedings in progress relating to the 
witchcraft prosecutions, at the moment. Examina- 
tions and commitments went on as before ; only the 
magistrates, acting on those occasions, were re-enforced 
by Mr. Gedney, who presided at their sessions. The 
affair had become so formidable, and the public infatu- 
ation had reached such a point, that it was difficult 
to determine what ought to be done. Sir William 
Phips, no doubt, felt that it was beyond his depth, 
and yielded himself to the views of the leading men 
of his council. Stoughton was in full sympathy with 
Cotton Mather, whose interest had been used in i)ro- 
curing his ajjpointmcnt over Danforth. Through him, 
Mather acquired, and hold for some time, great as- 





ccnclency with the governor. It was conchidcd 1)est 
to a})point a special court of Oyer and Terminer for 
the witchcraft trials. Stoughton, the deputy-governor, 
was commissioned as chief-justice. Nathaniel Saltoii- 
stall of Haverhill ; i\[ajor John Richards of Boston ; 
Major Bartholomew Gedncy of Salem ; Mr. Wait Win- 
throp, Captain Samuel Sewall, and Mr. Peter Sargent, 
all three of Boston, — were made associate judges. 
Saltonstall early withdi'cw from the service ; and Jona- 
than Corwin, of Salem, succeeded to his place on the 
bench of the special court. A majority of the judges 
were citizens of Boston. 

Jonathan Corwin had been associated with Ha- 
thorne in conducting the examinations that have been 
described. He was a son of George Corwin, who has 
been noticed in the account of Salem Village. 

A shade of illegality rests upon the very existence 
of this special co^irt. There has always been a ques- 
tion whether the new charter gave to the governor 
and council power to create it without tlie concur- 
rence of the House of Representatives. It has been 
held that such a court could have no other lawful 
foundation than an act of the General Court. Hutch- 
inson was evidently of tliis opinion. This question 
was a very serious one ; for, as that considerate and 
able historian and eminent judicial officer says, the 
tribunal that passed sentence in the witchcraft prose- 
cutions was " the most important court to the life 
of the subject which was ever lield in tlic province." 
The time required to convene the popular branch of the 

. J 


; t 


r m 



goYcrnmciit is itself, in all cases, an element of safety. 
Ill this case, it would have carried the country beyond 
the period of the delusion, and saved its annals from 
their darkest and bloodiest page. The condition of 
things when he arrived, had his counsellors been wise, 
would have led Sir William Phips forthwith to issue 
writs of election of deputies, before taking any action 
whatever. In a free rei)ublican government, the ex- 
ecutive de})artnient ought never to attempt to dispose 
of difficult matters of vital importance without the 
joint deliberations and responsibility of the represen- 
tatives of the people. 

So far as the composition of the court is consid- 
ered, no objection can be made. The justices were 
all members of the council, and belonged to the high- 
est order, not only of the magistracy, but of society 
generally. They constituted as respectable a body of 
gentlemen as could have been collected. Thomas 
Newton, of Boston, was connnissioned to act as attor- 
ne^'-gencral. The official title of marshal ceasing with 
the new government, George Corwin was appointed 
sheriff of the county of Essex. Hcrrick ap})ears to 
have continued in the service as deputy. Sheriff 
Corwin was twenty-six years of age. He was the 
grandson of the original George Corwin, and the son 
of John. His mother was grand-daughter of Gov- 
ernor Wiuthrop of Massachusetts, and daughter of 
Governor Winthrop of Connecticut. Ilis wile was a 
daughter of Bartholomew CJedncy ; so that it ai)j)cars 
that two of the judges were his uncles, and one his 



fathei'-iii-law. Tliesc personal coiincciioiis may be 
borne in mind, as atTordlng ground to believe, tliat, in 
tlie discharge of liis painful duties, he did not act witli- 
oiit advice and suggestions from the higliest quarter. 

The court-house in which the trials were held stood 
in the middle of what is now Washington Street, near 
where Lynde and Church Streets, which did not then 
exist, now enter it, fronting towards Essex Street. 
The building was also used as a town-house ; Washing- 
ton Street being, for this reason, then called " Town- 
house Lane." Off against the court-house, on the 
west side of the lane, Avas the house of the llev. Nicho- 
las Noyes, on the site of the residence of the late 
Robert Brookhouse. Opposite to it was the estate 
of Edward Bishop, which fronted westerly on " Town- 
liouse Lane" a little over a hundred feet, including 
the present Jeffrey Court, and extending a few feet 
beyond the corner of the house of Dr. S. M. Cate, 
over a portion of Church Street. Its dc})th, towards 
St. Peter Street, was about three hundred and forty- 
five feet. Edward Bishop held this estate in the right 
of his wife l^ridget, the widow of Thomas Oliver 
who had died about 1670. Not long after this mar- 
riage, Bishop removed to his farm at Boyal Side. Li 
1685, the " old Oliver house " was either removed or 
rebuilt, and a new one erected on the same jtremises, 
which was occu})ied by tenants in lGi'2. These items 
are given i)ccause they will help to illustrate the 
narrative, and enable us to understand ])oints of 
evidence in the a})proaching trial. It is a curious 




circumstance, that the first public victim of the prose- 
cutions, Bridget IJishop, had been the nearest neighbor 
and lived directly opposite, to the person who, more 
than any other inhabitant of the town, was responsible 
for the blood that was shed, — Nicholas Noyes. The 
jail, at that time, was on the western side of Prison 
Lane, now St. Peter Street, north of the point where 
Federal Street now enters it. The meeting-house 
f ood on what has always been the site of the First 
Church. The " Ship Tavern " was on ground the 
front of win "h is occupied, at present, by " West's 
Block," nearly opposite the head of Central Street. 
It had long been owned and kept by John Gedney, 
Sr. Two of his sons, John and Bartholomew, had 
married Susanna and Hannah Clarke. John died in 
1685. His widow moved into the family of her father- 
in-law ; and, after his death in 1G88, v^ontinucd to keep 
the house. In 1G98 she was married to I>eliverance 
Parkman, and died in 1728. The tavern, in 1G92, was 
known as the " Widow Gedney's." The estate had an 
extensive orchard in the rear, contiguous, along its 
northern boundary, to the orchard of Bridget Bishop, 
which occupied ground now covered by ihe Lyceum 
building, and one or vwo others to the east of it. 

The Court was openrjd at Salem in the first week 
of June, 1092. Li the mean time, the attorney-general, 
to prepare for the management of the cases, came to 
Salem. He addressed the following letter to Isaac 
Addington, Secretory of the province: — 






" Salem, 31st May, 1092. 
"Worthy Sir, — I have lierewith sent you the I'-ames 
of the prisoners that are desired to be transmitted by hahras 
corpus ; and liave presumed to send you a copy tliereof, being 
more, as I presume, accustomed to that practice than your- 
self, and beg pardon if I have infringed upon you therein. 
I fear we shall not this Aveek try all that we have sent for ; 
by reason the trials will be tedious, and the afflicted per- 
sons cannot ' adily give their testimonies, being struck dumb 
and senseless, for a season, at the name of the accused. I 
have been all this day at the Village, Avith the gentlemen 
of the coiuicil, at the examination of the persons, where I 
have beheld strange things, scarce credible but to the specta- 
tors, and too tedious here to relate ; and, amongst the rest. 
Captain Alden and Mr. English have their mittimus. I 
must say, according to the present appearances of things, 
they are as deeply concerned as the rest ; for the afflicted 
spare no person of what quality soever, neither conceal 
their crimes, though never so heinous. We pray that Tituba 
the Indian, and Mrs. Thacher's maid, may be transferred 
as evidence, but desire they may not come amongst the 
prisoners but rather by themselves ; with the records in 
the Court of Assistants, 167!), against Bridget Oliver, and the 
records relating to the first persons committed, left in Mr. 
"Webb's hands by the order of the council. I pray pardon 
that I cannot now furtlier enlarge ; and, with niy cordial 
service, only add that I am, sir, your most humble servant, 


I / ! 



TTutchinsou says that tlicrc was no colony or \)V0\- 
incc law against witchcraft in force when the trials 
began ; and that the proceedings were under an act of 
James the First, passed in 1008. J>y that act, j)ersons 
convicted were to be sentenced to " tlie pains and 
penalties of death as felons." By the colonial law, con- 
viction of capital crimes did not incapacitate the party 
affected from disposing of property. In this and other 
respects, there were points of difference, which caused 
some inconvenience in carrying out the }»racticc of 
the mother-country ; and the attorney-general had to 
supply the want of experience in the local ofTiccrs, 

It may here be mentioned, that no record of the 
doings of this special court arc now to be found, and 
our only information respecting them is obtained in 
brief and imperfect statements of writers of the time. 
Perhaps Hutchinson had the use of the records. lie 
gives the dates of the several sessions of the courts, 
and of the conviction and execution of the i)risoners. 
Some of the depositions sworn to in court are on file, 
but without giving in many instances the date when 
thus offered in the trials. In some cases, they state 
when they were laid before the grand jury. Only a 
small part of them are preserved. The matter they 
contain was, to a considerable extent, brought forward 
at the proliminary examinations, and has been already 
adduced. In the following account of the trials, some 
further use will be made of these depositions. 

Bridget l>ishop was the only person tried at the 
first session of the Court. She was brought through 



Prisoii Lane, up Essex Street, l)y the First CMiurcli, 
into Towii-huuso Lime, to the Court-house. Cotton 
Mather says, — 

" There Avas one stran;rc thin;i' with wliich the rourt was 
newly entertained. As this woman was under a ^nard, 
passing hy the great and spacious meeting-lionse, she gave 
a look towards the ho".se ; and immediately a demon, in- 
visibly entering the meeting-house, tore down a part of ii : 
so that, though there was no person to be seen there, yet 
the people, at the noise, running in, found a board, which 
Avas strongly fastened with several nails, transported into 
another ([uarter of the house." 

It is prol)able tliat the streets were tlironged by 
crowds eager to get a sight of the prisoner ; and that 
the doors, fences, and house-tops were occupied. .Some, 
perhaps, got into tlie meeting-house ; and, in clamber- 
ing up to the windows, a boaixl may have Ijeen put in 
requisition, and left misplaced. Incredilde almost as 
it is, this circumstance seems, from Mather's lan- 
guage, — " tlic court was entertained," — to have been 
brought in evidence at the trial, and regarded as 
weighty and conclusive proof of ]]ridget's guilt. 

One or two points in the evidence adduced against 
lier, in addition to those mentioned heretoforo, deserve 
consideration. The position taken, at her trial, l)y 
the Rev. John Hale of Beverly demands criticism. 
The charge of witchcraft had Ijcen made against her 
on more than one occasion before ; particularly about 
the year 1(387, when she resided near the bounds of 
Beverly, at Royal Side. A woman in the neighljor- 

VOL. II. 17 




liood, subject to fits of insanity, had, while passinjj^ into 
Olio of them, ]>i'ouglit the accusation against licr ; hut, 
on tlie return of her reason, solemnly recanted, and 
deeply lamented the aspersion. In a violent recur- 
rence of her maladv, this woman committed suicide. 
A[r. Hale had examined the case at the time, and 
t \ >'u'"ated Bridget Bishop, who was a connnunicant in 
in« cl n 3h, from the charge made against her by the 
unliapp}' ; .natic. He was satisfied, as he states, that 
" Sister JJishop " was innocent, and in no way des-erved 
to be ill thought of. He hoi)ed " l)etter of said Goody 
Bishop at that time." Without any })retence of new 
evidence touching the facts of the case, he came into 
court in 1()1>2, and related them, to the elTect and 
with the intent to make them bear against her. He 
described the appearance of the throat of the woman, 
after death, as follows: — 

" As to tlie wouuds she cHcd of, I observed tlirec deadly 
ones ; a piece of her windpipe cut out, and another wound 
above that through the windpipe and gidlet, and the vein 
they call jugular. So that I tlieu judged and still do appre- 
hend it impossible for her, Avitli no short a pair of scissors, to 
mangle herself so without some extraordinary Work of the 
Devil or witchcraft." 

If this was his impression at the time, it is strange 
that he did not then say so. But there is no ajipear- 
ance of any criminal proceedings having been had, by 
the grand jury or otherwise, against " Sister Bishop " 
on the occasion. On the contrary, ]\[r. Hale seems to 
have acquiesced in the opinion, that the derangement of 



the woman was aggravated, if not caused, by lu '^cliig 
overmuch given to searching and pondering u'wi i the 
dark passage's and mysterious iniagcry of propliecy. 
TIjc truth, in all prohability, is, that ^Mr. Hale's suspi- 
cion was an after-thought. The cfVect [)roduccd upon 
his mental condition l)y the statements and actings of 
the " aflHcted children" in li!i*2 was unconsciously 
transferred to 1(J87. The delusion, in which he was 
then fully particii)ating, ' d him to i)ut a dillerent 
interpretation u})on the si !ci d wounds and horrible 
end of the wretched mL.aiac, live or six years l)e- 

A j)iece of evidence, wnich illustrates the state of 
opinion at that time, r iting to our subject, given in 
this case, is worthy of notice. Samuel Shattuck was 
a hatter and dyer. His house was on the south side 
of Essex Street, opposite the western entrance to the 
grounds of the North Church. Before her removal to 
the village, Bridget Bisho]> was in the habit of calling 
at Shattuck's to have articles of dress dyed. He states 
that she treated him and his family politely and kindly ; 
or, as he characterized her deportment after his mind 
had Ijccomc jaundiced against her, " in a smooth and 
flattering manner." lie tells his story in a deposition 
written by him, and signed and sworn to in Court 
by himself and wife, June 2, 1(.)*J2. It is as fol- 
lows : — 

" Our eldcf't child, avIio promised as much lieultli and 
uuderstaiidiug, both by couutenancc and actions, as any 
other children of his years, was taken iu a very drooping 



condition; and, a.s she came oftoner to the house, lie ;^rew 
M'orse and worse. As he woidd be standing at the (h)()r, 
"vvouhl fall out, and bruise his face upon a great st('j)-stone, 
as if he had been thrust out by an invisible hand ; often- 
times falling, and hitting his face against the sides of the 
house, bruising his face in a very miserable numner. . . . 
This child taken in a terrible fit, his mouth and eyes 
drawn aside, and gasped in snch a manner as if he was up»)U 
the point of death. After this, he grew Avorse in his fits, 
and, out of them, would be almost always crying. That, 
for many months, he would be crying till nature's strength 
was spent, and then would fall asleep, and then awake, and 
fall to crying and moaning ; and that his very countenance 
did bespeak compassion. And at length, we perceived his 
understanding decayed : so that we feared (as it has since 
proved) that he wonld be ({uite bereft of his wits ; for, ever 
since, he has been stnpefied and void of reason, Ins fits still 
following of him. After he had been in this kind of sickness 
some time, he has gone into the garden, and has got npon a 
board of an inch thick, which lay flat npon the ground, and we 
have called him ; he would come to the edge of the board, and 
hold out his hand, and make as if he would come, but could 
not till he was helped off the board. . . . My wife has offered 
him a cake and money to come to her ; and he has held out 
his hand, and reached after it, but could not come till he had 
been helped off the board, by which I judge some enchant- 
ment kept him on. . . . Ever since, this child hath been fol- 
lowed with grievous fits, as if he would never recover more ; 
his head and eyes drawn aside so as if they would never 
come to rights more ; lying as if he were, in a manner, 
dead ; falling anywhere, cither into fire or water, if he be 
not constantly looked to ; and, generally, in such an uneasy, 








restless frame, almost always running to and fro, actiuf^ so 
8tra!i;.'e that I cannot ju(l;,'ii othorwise but that ho is bo- 
Avitchetl : ami, by these circumstances, <1(> believe that the 
aforesaid Hiid-jet Oliver — i\o\v called IJishop — is tlie cause 
of it : and it has been the judgment of doctors, such as lived 
here an<l foreigners, that ho is under an evil hand of witch- 

The incpiis used to <jjlvc this direction to the suspi- 
cious of Shiittuek iiiul his wife arc described in the 
notice of Jiridgct liishop, iu the First Part of this work. 

Shattuck was a sou of the sturdy (Quaker of tiiat 
name who, thirty years before, liad given the goveru- 
nieut of the colony so uuich trouble, and seems to 
liave inherited some of his notions. In his deposition, 
he mentions, as corroborative proof of Hridget IJishop's 
being a witch, that she used to bring to his dye-house 
*' sundry pieces of lace," of shapes and dimensions 
entirely outside of his conceptions of what could be 
needed in the wardrobe, or for the toilet, of a plain and 
honest Avoman. He evidently regarded fashionable 
and vain apparel as a snare and sign of the Devil. 

The imaginations of several ])ersons in Shattuek's 
immediate neighborhood seem to have been wrought 
up to a high jwint against Bridget IJishoj). John 
Cook lived on the south side of the street, directly 
Oj)positc the eastern entrance to the grounds of the 
North Church, on its present site. John Bly's house 
was on a lot contiguous to the rear of Cook's, fronting 
on Summer Street. One of Cook's sons (John), aged 
eighteen, testified, that, — 






■' 1 





1 « 


" Al)Oiit five or six yenrs n;j;o, ono inurniiii; about siiii-ris- 
iiijTi JIM I WHS ill 1»L'(1, Itcl'oro I rosf, I saw CJootlwilV' Rislio]), 
nllnn Olive, M'.and in (lie cliamher hy tlio window: and hIio 
lookcil on me and <;riinied on ine, and presently struck nie on 
the side of the head, which did very mneh hnrt me ; ant! then 
I saw her ^o ont nnder tlio end window at a little trevice, 
about so big as I could thrust my hand into. I saw Iter 
again the same day, — which was the sabbath-day, — about 
uoon, walk across the room ; and having, at the time, an 
apple in my hand, it flew out of my hand into my mother's 
hip, who sat six or eight i'oot distance from me, and then she 
disaj)peared: and, though my mother and several others 
Avere in the same room, yet they alVirmed they saw her 

lUy and his wife Tlubccca litul u difliculty witli !>ishop 
ill rofuronco to })ayiiieiit for a liog tlicy had liought of 
lior. Tlio following- is from Ihcir testimony at her trial. 
After stating tliat slie came to tlieir house and (juai- 
relled with tliem aljout it, tlicy go on to say that the 
animal — 

"was taken with strange fits, jumping up, and knocking lier 
head against the fence, and seemed blind and deaf, and would 
not eat, neither let her pigs suck, but foamed at the mouth ; 
Avhich Goody Henderson, hearing of, said she believed she 
was overlooked, and that they had their cattle ill in such a 
manner at the Eastward, when they lived there, and iisetl to 
cure them by giving of them red ochre and milk, which we 
also gave the sow. Quickly after eating of which, she grew 
better ; and then, for the space of near two hours together, 
she, getting into the street, did set off, jumping and running 
between the house of said deponents and said Bishop's, as if 



she were stark niiul, nnd, afu-r that, wa«< well n;^n\\\ : and 
wc (li<l tlu'ii apprfliond or ,iud;j;<-, and do still, that .said 
Bishop had bewitdu'd said sow." 

William Staccy tL'.stilhMl, that, as ho was " airoinj^ to 
mill," nu'(!tiii<i' IJislKip in tho street, Homu coiivorsalioii 
|> botWLMMi them, ami that, — 

" Ixiiii;; gone about six rods iVoin hur, tin' said Bishop, with 
a small load in his cart, suddindy the ofi'-whcrl shinipcd or 
.sunk down into a hole upon plain ground ; that this deponent 
was Ibreed to get one to help him <:et the wheel out. After- 
wards, this depoiKMit went back to look for said hole where 
liis wheel sunk in, but could iu)t find any hole." 

Stac'cy further deposed, that, on another occasion, 
he — 

" met the said liishop by Isaac Stearns's brick-kiln. After 
ho had passed by her, this deponent's horse stood still with 
a small load ;^oin;^ up the hill ; so that, the horse striving to 
draw, all bis gears and tackling flew in pieces, and the cart 
fell down." 

These mishaps and marvels occurred in Summer 
Street, near the foot of Chestmit Street, where the 
ground \vas then much lower than it is now. Stacey 
was ascending the street, on his way through High 
Street to his father's mill, at the South River. 

Stacey conduded his testimony as follows: — 

" Tiiis deponent hath met with several other of her 
pranks at several times, which would take up a great time to 
tell of. 

" Tiiis deponent doth verily believe that the said Bridget 
Bishop was instrumental to his daughter r'"iscilla's death. 



1 1 












About tAvo years ago, the cliild was a likely, thriving child ; 
and suddenly screeched out, and so continued, in an unusual 
nianner, for about a fortnight, and so died in that lamentable 

]\Iaiiy of the extraordinary " pranks," cliargod upon 
Bridget T>lsliop, had their scene near to licr dwcUing- 
lioiise. John Louder, a servant of John Credney, Sr., 
some years hefore, had a controversy with her ahout 
lier fowls, " tliat used to come into our orchard or gar- 
den." He swore as follows : — 

" Some little time after which, I, going well to bed, about 
the dead of the night, felt a great weight upon my breast, 
and, awakening, looked ; and, it being bi'ight moonlight, did 
clearly sec said Bridget Bishop, or her likeness, sitting upon 
my stomach ; and, putting my arms off of the bed to free my- 
self from the great oppression, she presently laid hold of my 
throat, and almost choked me, and I had no strength or 
power in my hands to resist, or help myself; and, in this con- 
dition, she held me to almost day. Some time after this, my 
mistress (Susannah Gedney) Avas in our orchard, and I Avas 
then with her ; and said Bridget Bishop, being then in her 
orchard, — Avhich Avas next adjoining to ours, — my mistress 
told said Bridget that I said or allirmed that she came, one 
night, and sat upon my breast, as aforesaid, which she de- 
nied, and I allu-med to her face to be true, and that I did 
plainly see her; upon Avhich discourse Avith her, she threat- 
ened me. And, some time after that, I, being not very Avell, 
stayed at home on a Lord's Day ; and, on the afternoon of said 
day, the doors being shut, I did see a black pig in the room 
coming toAvards me ; so I Avent towards it to kick it, and it 
vanished away." 




•: I 



Louder goes on to say, that, iiuniediatcly after tliis, 
on the same oecasion wliile he was staying at home 
from mectuig, lie saw a l)hiek thing juni}) into tlic win- 
dow, and it came and stood just Ixdore his face " ujioii 
the bar." The body of it looked like a monkey, (Mily 
the feet were like a cock's feet witii claws, and the 
face somewhat more like a man's than a monkey's. 
He says that he was greatly affriglded, "not being 
able to sjteak or lielp myself l)y reason of fear, I sup- 
pose ; " and that his mysterious visitor made quite a 
speech to liim, representing that it was a messenger 
sent to sav, that, if he wouhl '"be ruled bv him, he 
should want for nothing in this world." Tlie virtuous 
and indigmmt Louder says that he answered, " You 
devil, I will kill vou ! " and gave it a Idow with his 
fist, but " could feel no sultstance ; and it jumped out 
of the window again." It innnediately came in by the 
porch, although tlie doors were shut, and said, " You 
had better take my counsel." Ihu'cupon Louder 
struck at it with a stick, liitting the ground-sill and 
breaking the stick, but lelt no substance. Louder 
concludes his testimony as follows: — 

" TliJ arm with wliicli I struck was pro^-outly disenabled. 
Tiicii it vaui.-ilicd away, and I opeued the back-door and 
went ont ; and, going towards the iionse-end, 1 espied said 
Bridget Bishop in her orchard g(tiug towards hei' house, and, 
seeing her, hatl no ))owrr to set (»ne loot lorwar<l, but re- 
turned in again: and, ^oin;;' to shut the door, I again did see 
that or the like creature, that I helbr*' did S(;e within doors, 
in such a postiu'e as it seemed to be agoing to lly at me ; 




upon wliicli I cried out, ' Tlie whole armor of God be between 
mo and you.' 80 it s[)i'aiig back and ilew over the apple- 
tree, flinging the dirt with it.s feet against my stoniacli, njjou 
Avhich 1 was struck dumb, and so continued for about three 
days' time ; and also shook many of the apples oif from the 
tree which it flew over." 

Before rciiiovinjj; to liis farm, Edward and JJridget 
Bishop made tlie alterations, before mentioned, on their 
town estate. John Bly, Sr., aged fiftv-scven years, and 
AVilliam I>ly, aged fifteen, were emjdoyed in the opera- 
tion of removing the cellar wall of " the oidd house ; " 
and testified, that they found in holes and crevices 
of said cellar wall " several })iii)i)ets made up of rags 
and hogs' bristles, with headless pins in them with the 
points outward." 

Upon such evidence, Bridget Bishop Avas condemned, 
and executed the next week. The death-warrr ts, in 
these trials, were collected together in one e... '0101)0, 
marked as such. The envelope remains, but its 
contents have all been abstracted. The death-warrant 
of ]>ridget Bishoj) was probaldy overlooked when the 
others were gathered togethc;'. The consequence is 
that it has been i)reserved, and is the only one known 
to be in existence. 

The sheriff seems to have proceeded, immediately 
after the execution, to the clerk's office, and indorsed 
his return on the warrant. AVhen ho wrote it, he 
added, after the word " dead," — " and buried her on 
the sjiot.'' On its occurring to him that the burying of 
the body was not mentioned in the warrant, he drew 



'lilt'' of 




1 . 

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: *■ 






Ills )>oii tlirouji'li tlic words ; as is socu in tlio plioto 
grapli. This supL'rdiioiis clauso, thus partially ohlit- 
erated, is the only [jositivo evidence we have of the 
disposal of tho bodies at the time. They wer(3 un- 
douhtedly all thrown into pits dn_u' among the rocks, on 
the spot, and hastily covered Wy the oHiccrs having in 
cluirp:e the details of the executions. Tiun-e were no 
prayers over their graves, except those uttered by theni- 
Helves in their last moments. 

The descendants of Bridget IJishop arc very numer- 
ous in Salem; embracing some of our oldest and most 
respectable f\imilies, and branching widely from them. 
There is no evidence of issue by her first marriage. 
Thomas Oliver, her second husband, had dau'diters by 
a former wife, who were rei)rcsented in the next gen- 
<" •alien under the names of Jlilliard, IIoo[>er, and 
oones. By his wife IJridget, he had but one child, — a 
daughter, Christian, l>orn May 8, l(!b7. She married 
Thonuis Mason, and died in IGDo ; leaving an only child, 
Susannah, born August 28, l()iST. Edward Bishop 
was her guardian. She married -John IJecket in 1711, 
and by him had a son, John, and six daughters, as 
follows: Susannah, uiarried to David Felt, Elizabeth 
to William Pcele, Sarah to Nathaniel Silsbee, Rebecca 
to William Fairfield, Eunice to Thorndike Deland, and 
Hannah to William Cloutman. 

After the condemnation of J>ridget Bishop, the Court 
took a recess, and consulted the ministers of Bostou 
and the ueighl)orhood respecting (he prosecutions. 
The response of the reverend gentlemen, while urging, 




in gonornl terms, tliu Imjiortiincc of caution uiul cir- 
cumspection in tlic methods of examiuution, deciihidly 
and earnestly recommended tliat the })roccedings should 
))e vigorously carried on; and they were, indeed, vig- 
orously carried on. 

Hutchinson says, that, " at the first trial, there was 
no colony or }»rovincial law against witchcraft in force. 
The statute of James the First must therefore have 
been considered as in force in the province, witchcraft 
not being an offence at common law. Before the ad- 
journment, the old colony law, which makes witch- 
craft a capital offence, was revived witli the other local 
laws, as they were called, and made a law of the j>rov- 
incc." The General Court, which thus revived the 
law making witchcraft a ca})ital olTence, met, June 8, 
two days before the execution of Bridget Bishop. The 
proceedings that took place at Salem were thus as- 
sumed as a provincial matter, for which the immediate 
locality was not responsible, but the legislature, clergy, 
and peo}»le of the country at large. 

The Court met again on Wednesday, the 2ytli of 
June ; and, after trial, ser.tenced to death Sarah Good, 
Sarah Wildes, Elizabeth How, Susanna ^Martin, and 
Rcljecca Nurse, who were all executed on the IDth of 

Calef says, that, at the trial of Sarah Good, — 

" One of tlie afflicted fell in a fit ; and, after coming out of 
it, cried out of the prisoner for stabbing her in tlic breast 
■with a knife, and that she had broken the knife in stabbing 
of her. Accordingly, a piece of the blade of a knife was 



•J 5 








found jibout lit-r. Iiiimt'iliatoly, infonnatlou being given to 
the Court, a young man was calU'd, who prochicccl a halt and 
part of tlie bhidc, which the Court, liaving vir\seil and com- 
parod, saw it to be the same ; and, upon iiKiniiy, the young 
man alfirmed that yesterday he ha})i)ened to break that knife, 
and that he cast away the upper part, — tliis alllieted person 
being then present. The young man Mas dismissed and she 
"was bidden by the Coui-t not to tell lies ; and was improved 
after (as she had been before) to give evidence against the 

IIutclHiisou, in relatiiiji' this circumstance, refers to 
a case tried before Sir Matthew JIale, wlieu a similar 
kind of falsehood was proved against an "al]lieted" 
witness ; notwithstanding which he says the i)erso!i 
on trial was found guilty, " and the j'ulge and all the 
court were fully satisfied with the verdict." 

Sarah Good appears to have heen an iinfortumito 
"woman, having l)een subject to poverty, and conse- 
quent sadness and melancholy. But she was not 
AvhoUy broken in s})irit. IMr. Xoyes, at the time of 
her execution, urged her very strenuously to confess. 
Among other things, he told her " she was a witch, 
and that she knew she was a witch." She was con- 
scious of her innocence, and felt that she was op- 
pressed, outraged, tram})led upon, and about to be 
murdered, under the forms of law ; and iier indignation 
was roused against her persecutors. She coidd not 
bear in silence the cruel aspersion; and, altliough she 
was just about to be launched into eternity, the torrent 
of her feelings could not be restrained, but Inirst upon 




r 1 

%■ ^ 

tlio head of liim ■wlio iittei'ecl the lalso .iccusMlioii. 
'• ^'oii iii'c ii liiu'," said slio. " I am no more a witch 
tliaii voii ar(j a wizanl ; jiml, if voii (akc awav my 
life, (lod will give you hlood U) drink." Iliik'hiiisou 
says that, in his day, there was a tradition among the 
l)Co[»le ol' Salem, and it has descended to the present 
time, that the mainun' of !Mr. Noyes's deatli strangely 
verified tla; i»r<'dietion thus wi'uiig IVom the incensed 
spirit of the dying woman. He was exceedingly cor- 
pulent, of a plethoric hahit, and died of an intcn'nal 
hemorrhage, bleeding profusely at the mouth. 

AVe have no information relating to the execution of 
Elizabeth How. Jfer gentle, jtatient, humble, being- 
nant, devout, and tender heart Imji'c her, no doul)t, with 
a spirit of saint-like love and faith, through the dread- 
ful scenes. We cannot doubt, tliat, in deatli as in life, 
she forgave, prayed for, and invoked blessing u}>on her 
persecutors. Neither has any thing come down in ref- 
erence to the deportment of Sarah V.'ildes or Susanna 
Martin. W^e may take it for granted, that the former 
was a i)atient and humble, but firm and faithful suf- 
ferer ; and that the latter displayed the great energy 
of sjiirit, and probably the strength of language, for 
which she was remarkable. Of the case of llebecea 
Xursc we have more information. 

The character, ago, and position of this venerable 
matron created an impression, which called, to the 
utmost, all the arts and efforts of the prosecution to 
counteract. Many who had gone fully and earnestly 
ill support of the }>roccedIngs against others paused 

wrrnirijAFT at salkm villahk. 


and licsitatcil in I'dbrcnce toiler; and lai'^;(' iMiniUci's 
will) hud lu'iMi ovonuvcd into silence Itefoi'e, luavely 
came f'orwanl in her derenue. The character of 
Nathani(d INitnani lias been (h'scrihed. He was a man 
(»f extraordinary strenutli and acnteness of mind, and 
in all his ]>revions life had lieen [H'ooI' atiainst iiojiular 
excitement. The death of his hrotluM- Thomas, seven 
years before, had left him the head and jiatriaivh of 
his urcat familv: as such, he was known as " [.and- 
lord Putnam." Entire coidldence was felt by all in his 
iuflii'mcnt, ami deservedlv. ]]ut he was a stron"!: 
reliu'ionist, a life-long member of the Church, Jind ex- 
tremely strenuous and zealous in his ecclesiastical 
relations. \h) was getting to be an old nuin ; and Mr. 
Parris had wholly succeeded in obtaining, for the time, 
])osscssion of his feelings, .symi)athy, and zeal in the 
management of the Church, and secured liis full co- 
operation in the witchcraft })rosccutions. lie had been 
led by Parris to take the very front in the })rocee(niigs. 
But cveu Nathaniel Putnam could not stand by in 
silence, and see Pebecca Nurse sacrificed. A curious 
paper, written by him, is among those which have been 
preserved : — 

"Nathaniel Putnam, St., being desired by Francis 
Nurse, Sr., to give information of wliat I conUl say ooncern- 
ing his wife's life and conversation, I, tlie abovesaid, liavc 
known Uiis said aforesaid woinan tbrty years, and wliat I 
have observed of lier, human frailties excepted, lier life and 
conversation have been according to her profession ; and she 
hath brought up a great family of children and educated 













ttilM §15 

|jo ■^~ H^H 

S *^ ii 













WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 







thcni well, so that tliore is in some of tlioni aj)i)aroiit savor of 
godliness. I have known her ditler with her neighbors; but 
I never knew or heard of any that did accuse her of what 
she is now charged with." 

A .similar ]){ii)or was signed by thirty-iiiiio other ])cr- 
soiis of the village ami the immediate vieinity, all of 
the highest resi)cetal)ility. The men and women who 
dared to do this act of justice must not be forgotten: — 

" AVe whose names are licrcunto subscribed, being desired 
by Goodman Nurse to declare what we know concerning his 
wife's conversation for time pa 't, — we can testify, to all 
whom it may concern, that Sve have known her for many 
years; and, according to our observation, her life and conver- 
sation were according to her profession, and Ave never had 
any cause or grounds to suspect her of any such thing as she 
is now accused of. 


Ki>\vAui> IJisnop, Sr. 
Hannah Bisnoi'. 
Joshua Uka. 
Sakah Hi.a. 
Sauah Li;a< h. 
John Pi tvam. 
l{i;iii;( ( A Pi TNAAi. 


Hannah Osiu un. 
Josr.i'H l!.)i.ToN, Sr. 
{Sakah Hoi.ton. 


Josti'u IltuiucK, ISr. 

Samukl AuilKY. 
IIi:i'zii!AH Ki;a. 
Danikl Anihskw. 
Sakah Andkkw. 
Danili, I\i;a. 
Sakah Pi tnam. 
Jonathan P it nam. 
Lyi)I.» Pi tnam. 
Waltick Phili.ii's, Sr. 
Js'athaniki, Fki.ton, Sr. 

]\lAI!<iAKi:T PhIM.IFS. 
Taiutha PhII.MI'S. 
Josr.i'H IIori.TON, Jr. 
Sa.mii.1. Eniikott. 


Sami i;i, AiioKN, Sr. 
Isaac Cook. 
Ei,izaih;th Cook. 

JoSi;i'H PlTNAM." 




All examiiiatioii of the foregoing names in eoiinoc- 
tion witli tlie history of the Village will show eoneliisivc 
proof, that, if the matter had heen left to the peojde 
there, it would never have reached the point to which 
it was carried. It was the influence of the magistracy 
and the government of the colony, and the pul)lic 
sentiment prevalent elsewhere, overruling that of the 
immediate locality, that drove on the sti>rm. 

Israel Porter was the head of a great and powerful 
family. His wife Elizabeth was, as has been stated, a 
sister of Ilathorne, the examining magistrate. Edward 
and Hannah Bishop were the venerable heads and 
founders of a large family. They lived in Beverly, and 
'must each have been abou! ninety years of age. The 
list contains the names of tlio heads of the principal 
families in the village, — such as John and llei)ecca 
Putnam, the Ilntchinsons, lieas, Leaches, Houltons, 
and Ilerricks ; and, in the neighborhood, such as the 
Feltons, Osbornes, and Samuel Endicott. The most 
remarkable fact it discloses is that it contains the name 
of one of the two com})laiiiants who procured the 
warrant against Rebecca Nurse, — Jonathan Putnam, 
the eldest son of John; and also of his wife Lydia. 
Subsequent reflection, and the return of his better 
judgment, satisfied him that he had done a great wrong 
to an innocent and worthy person ; and he had the man- 
liness to come out in her favor. This document ought 
to have been clTcctual in saving the life of Rebecca 
Nurse. It will for ever vindicate her character, and re- 
flect honor upon each and every name subscribed to it. 

VOL. II. 18 




One of the most cruel features in the prosecution 
of the witclieraft trials, and which was practised in all 
countries where they took place, was the examination 
of the hodies of the prisoners by a jury of the same 
sex, under the direction and in the i)resence of a sur- 
geon or })hysician. The person was wliolly exposed, 
and every part sul>jected to the most searching scrutiny. 
The process was always an outrage upon human na- 
ture ; and in the cases of the victims on this occasion, 
many of them of venerable years and delicate feelings, 
it was shocking to every natural and instinctive senti- 
ment. There is reason to fear that it was often con- 
ducted in a rough, coarse, and brutal manner. Marshal 
Ilerrick testifies, that, " by order of Their JMajesties' 
justices," he, accompanied by the jail-keeper Dounton, 
and Constable Josepli Neal, made an examination of 
the body of George Jacobs. In persons of his great 
age, there would, in all likelihood, be shrivelled, desic- 
cated, and callous places. They found one on the old 
man, under his right shoulder. Ilerrick made oath 
that it was a veritable witch teat, and his deposition 
describes it as follows : " About a (quarter of an inch 
long or better, with a sharp point drooping downwards, 
so that I took a pin, and run it through the said teat ; 
but there was neither water, blood, or corruption, nor 
any other matter." As proof positive that this was 
" the Devil's mark," Ilerrick and the turnkey testify 
that " the said Jacobs was not in the least sensible of 
what had been done " ! 

The mhid loaliics the thought of handling in this 








way refined and sensitive females of matronly char- 
acter, or persons of eitlier sex, witli infirmities of 
body rendered sacred l)y years. Tiie resnlts of tlie ex- 
amination were reduced to written reports, goin<^ into 
details, and, among other evidences in the trials, 
spread l)eforc the Court and jury.* 

'J he evidence in the case of Rebecca Nurse was 
made uj) of the usual representations and actings of 
the " afflicted children." ]Mary Walcot and Abigail 
Williams charged her with having committed several 
murders ; mentioning i)artlculaily IJenJamin Ifoulton, 
John Harwood, and RcV)ecca Shcpard, and averring that 
she was aided therein by her sister Cloyse. Mr. Parris, 
too, gave in a deposition against her; from which it ap- 

* A few days bofore her trial, llobecoa Xiirse was subjected to tliis 
inspection and exploration ; and the jury of women found tlie witch- 
mark upon her. On the 28th of June, two days before the ineetinji of 
the Court, she addressed to that body the following communication : — 

" To the Honored Court of Oiier anil Tmiuner, now sUtinij in Salem, thiit '2Slh 

of June, Anno 1692. 

" Tiie humble petition of Rebecca Nurse, of Salem Villsige, humbly 
showeth: That whereas some women did search your petitioner at Salem, 
as I did then conceive for some supernatural mark; and then one of the 
said women, which is known to be the most ancient, skilful, prudent person 
of them all as to any such concern, did express herself to l)o of a contrary 
opinion from the rest, and did then declare that slip sawnotbinfi in or almnt 
Your Honor's poor petitioner hut what inif:;lit arise from a natural cause, — I 
there rendered the said persons a sufhcient known reason as to Uiyself of tlie 
moving cause thereof, wliicli was by exceeding weaknesses, descending partly 
from an overture of nature, and ddllcnlt exigen'iies that hath betiillen me in 
the times of my travails. Ami therefore your petitioner humbly prays 
that Your Honors would be pleased to admit of some other women to in- 
quire into this great concern, those that are most grave, wise, and skilful; 
namely, Mrs. lligginson, Sr., Mrs. Buxton, Mrs. Woodbury, — two of them 




pears, tliat, a certain person l»elng sick, Mercy Lewis 
was sent i'or. Slie was struck diuul) on enterin*^' 
the clianil)(!r. She was asked to lioM up her hand, if 
slie saw any of the witclies afflicting the patient. 
Presently she lield up lier liand, tlien fell into a 
trance; and after a wliile, coining to lierscdf, said 
tliat she saw the spectres of fJoody Xurso and (Joody 
Carrier having liokl of the head of the sick man. Mr. 
Parris swore to this statement with the utmost con- 
fidence in Mercy'« dechirations. 

The testimony of three i»crsons j)articuharly is re- 
quired to he given, as iUustrating tlie extraordinary 
extent to which the minds of those involved v.; the 
uffair were under infatuation or hallucination. 

]\Irs. Ann Putnam was ahout thirty years of ago. 
For six months she had heeii constantly ahsorhcd in 
what was then, as now, regarded as spiritualism. Her 

being inidwives, Mrs. Porter, togetlier with such otliers ns may be chojen 
on that iiccount, before I lun brouglit to my trial. All which I hope your 
honors will take into your prudent consideration, and find it requisite so to 
do; for ny'.ife lies now in your luinds, under God. And, being consci-jus of 
my own in'ioccncy, I humbly beg that I may have liberty to manifest it to 
the world partly by the means abovesaid. 

"And your poor i>ctitioner shall evermore pray, as in duty bound, &c." 

Her diuighters — Rebecca, wife of Th()n)as Trcston ; and Mary, wife 
of John Tarl)ell — presentcil the following statement: — 

" Wc whose names arc underwritten — can testify, if called to it, that 
(loody Nurse hath been troubled with an inlirniity of body for many j-ears, 
which the jury of women seem to be afraid it should be something else." 

There is no intimation, in any of the papers, that the petition of the 
mother or the deposition of her daugliters received tlie least attention 
from the Court. 




liousc had 1»ceii tlie scone of a pcrprtual scries of 
woiulcrs supposed to l>e disclosures and manifesta- 
tions of a suj>ernatural character. Apjtaritions, spec- 
tral shapes of living witches, ghosts of their murdered 
victims, and demons generally, were of daily and hourly 
occurrence. The dread secrets of the world unknown 
had heen revealed to her in waking fancies and dreams 
by night. An originally sensitive and imaginative 
nature had been wrought into a condition in which 
lior mental faculties were at once enfeebled and ex- 
alted. Besides all this, there were the trials to 
which her constitution had been subjected by the 
experiences of maternity so early begun, and the j)res- 
sure u\)on her mind and heart of the anxieties and 
cares incident to a large family of young cidldren. 
An accumulation of disappointments, vexations, and 
consuming griefs, spread like a dark cloud over her 
life, — the deaths of her own children, and of her sister 
Baylcy and her children, and of her sister Baker's chil- 
dren ; and, finally, the long-continued, and constantly 
recurring sullerings, tortures, convulsions, fits, and 
trances of her daughter Ann, and her servant-woman 
^Mercy Lewis, under, as she fully believed, a diabolical 
hand. — These things must have given to her coun- 
tenance and tones of voice a wonderful imprcssive- 
ness to all who looked upon or listened to them. IIoi 
eminent social position, her general rc}»utation, — for 
Lawson, who knew her well, calls her " a very sober 
and pious woman," so far as he could judge, — the 
stamp of profound earnestness marked on all her 


wrrciicHAFT AT sal?:m village. 

I I, 

liin«^ii.i<2;c, the glow whicli iiioiitid oxcitcinciit long- ox- 
pcrionced gavo to her expression, must liave arrested, 
to a liigh degree, tlie attention of tlie assembled mul- 
titude. An air of sadness, in the wild ravings of 
imagination, pervades her testimony. I present her 
deposition in full, as one of the phenomena of this 
strange transaction : — 

"The DEi'osrrioN of Anx PuTNAAr, the wife <»f Thonins 
Putnam, aged about thirty years, v>\h) testifieth and saitli, 
that, ou the IHtii March, 1G1)2, I being wearied out in help- 
ing to tend my poor atllicted child and maid, about the 
middle of the afternoon I lay me down on ti>e bed to take 
a little rest ; and immediately I was almost premised and 
choked to death, tliat, had it not been for the mercy of 
a gracious God and the help of those that were with me, 
I could not have lived many moments : and presently I saw 
the apparition of Martha Corey, who did tortur i me so as 
I cannot express, ready to tear me i\V to pieces, and then 
departed from me a little while ; but before I could recover 
strength or well take breath, the appiritiou of Martha 
Corey fell upon me again with dreadful tortures, and hellish 
temptation to go along with her. And she also brought to 
me a little red book in her hand and a black pen, urging me 
vehemently to write in her book ; and several times that 
day she did most grievously torture me, almost ready to kill 
me. And, on the IDth March, Martha Corey again appeared 
to me ; and also Rebecca Nuise, the wife of Francis Nurse, 
Sr. : and they both did torture mo a great many times this 
day with such tortures as no tongue can exjjress, because 
I would not yield to their hellish temptations, that, had I 
not been upheld by an Almighty arm, 1 could not have lived 



Avliilc iii;,'lit. Tin' 20111 INrarcli, Ijciiig snblmtli-dny, T had 
a great di-jil of respite betweiMi my tits. 21 sf March, being 
the (lay of the exaininfition of Martha C'orev, I had not 
maiiy fits, though I was very weak; my strength being, 
as I thought, almost gone: but. on the 22(1 jMarch, IGP:', 
the apparition of Rebecca Nurse did again set upon mo in 
a most dre idful manner, very early in the morning, as soon 
as it was well light. And !io\v she a) peared to lue oidy ia 
her shift, and brought a little red book in her hand, urging 
me vehemently to write in her book ; and, because I would 
not yield to her hellish temptations, she threatened to tear 
my »oul out of my body, blasphemously denying the blessed 
( Jod, anil the power of the Lord Jesus Christ to save my soul ; 
and denying several places of Scripture which I told her of, 
to repel her hellish temptations. Atid for near two hours 
together, at this time, the apparition of Rebecca Nurse did 
tempt and torture me, and also the greater part of this 
day, with but very little respite. 23d ^larch, am agaia 
afHicted by the apparitions of Rebecca Nurse and Martha 
Corey, but chiefly by Rebecca Nurse. 24th March, being the 
day of the examination of Rebecca Nurse, I was several 
times afflicted in the morning by the apparition of Rebecca 
Nurse, but most dreadfully tortured by her in the time of 
her examin.tion, insomuch that the honored magistrates 
gave my husband leave to carry me out of the meetiug- 
liouse ; and, as soon as I was carried out of the meeting- 
house doors, it pleased Almighty God, for his free grace and 
mercy's sake, to deliver me out of the paws of those roaring 
lions, and jaws of those tearing bears, that, ever since that 
time, they have not had power so to afllict me until this 
31st May, 1GI)2. At the same momeut that I was hearing 
my evidence read by the honored magistrates, to take my 




onilj, I WHS M^jain re-nssiiulti'd nnd torfiircd by my bcforc- 
mciitioi'.t'd tormciilor, nclK-ccii Nurse." 

"TnK Ti;ynMONV of Ann I'ltxam, Jr., Avitnossoth nnd 
.^ailli, tliat, biiiiig in the room wlien lior mother was afllicted, 
she saw Martha Coroy, Saiah Ch)yso, and Rebecca Nurse, 
or their apparition, upon her niother." 

iNFrs. Ami I'litiuim inadu aiiotlicr (hipositioii uiidor 
oath, at tlio same trial, which sliows that sho was 
dotornilncd to overwhchn the prisoiicr l»y tlic niulti- 
tiido of her cliar<^os. Slic says that Kohocc'a Nurse's 
apparition dodarcd to hor tliat " sho luxd killed IJenja- 
miii Iloulton, John Fuller, and Rehccea Shepard ; " 
and that sho and her sister Cloyse, and Edward IJish- 
op's wife, had killed youn<^ John Putnam's child ; and 
she further deposed as followcth : — 

" Immediately there did apj)ear to me six clnldren in 
winding-sheets, which called me aunt, which did most 
grievously aftright me ; and they told mc that they were my 
sister liaker's children of IJoston ; and tliat Goody Nurse, 
and INIistress Carey of Ciiarlestown, and an old deaf woman 
at Boston, had murdered them, and charged me to go and 
tell these things to the magistrates, or else they would tear 
me to pieces, for their blood did cry for vengeance. Also 
there appeared to me my own sister Bayley and three of 
her duli^eu in winding-sheets, and told me that Goody 
iVurse had murdered them." 

There is in this doi)osition a passage which illus- 
trates one of the doctrines held at the time on the 
subject of M'itchcraft. ^Irs. Ann Putnam " testifieth 
and saith, that, on the first day of June, 1G92, the 


AviTcnriiArr at sali:m vii.laoe. 


npparitioii of Ilt'lKH'cii Nurse <li<I i\'^i\\\\ full u|miii mo, 
and iilin«)st clioku mo; ami slio loM mo, tlial, now she 
was oomo <mt of prison, slio liail power to alllict mo, 
ninl tliat now sIm; would alllicf me all liiis day lonL^" 
Ti»o I'oloronco lioro is prohaMy lo llie faot, dial, on the 
1st of .Juno, slio with many oilier |irisonors was Irans- 
forrod from tli<! jail in IJoston to that in Salem : and 
that, "all thai day loii^-" hoing outside of prison 
walls, sh(? had groator jiowor to alllict than whoii 
chained in a coll. This was undouhledly th(! received 
opinion, and it is curiously illustratc'd in tlw* fore- 
going j)assago. 

The only hr^ath of disparagement against the char- 
actor of Goodwifo Nurse that csin he found in any 
of the papers is in the following deposition : — 


" TuE Dkposition of Sauait IIoulton, ro'ict of lJi>n- 
jamiii Iloulton, deceased, who testitieth and saitli, that, ahoiit 
this time three years, my dear and loving liushand, IJenjamin 
Iloulton, deceased, was as well as ever I knew hijn in my 
life till one Satnnlay morning, that Uebccca Nurse, who 
now stands charged for witchcraft, came to onr house, and 
fell a railing at him because onr pigs got into her Held. 
Though our pigs were sniliciently yoked, and their fence was 
down in several places, yet all we could say to her could 
no ways pacify her; hut she conliinied railing and scolding 
a great while together, calling to her son Henj. Nui-se to go 
and get a gun and kill mu* pigs, and let none of them go out 
of the fiehl, though my poor husband gave her never a 
misbeliolding word. And, within a short time after this, my 
poor husband going out very early iu the morning, as he 



was ('((iiiiii;^ ill n;.')iin, lii' was taken witli ii straiigt' fit in the 
entry ; Iti'in^ ntrnck l»Iin<l and Htricki-n down two or three 
times, HO that, when he eanie to himself, he tohl UJe he 
thoii;:ht he shoidd never hav(^ come into tho housi; any moi'e. 
And, all snmmer after, he continned in a lan;^Miishin;,' con- 
dition, lH>in;j^ mnch pained at his ntonuieh, and often struck 
hliiid : hnt, ahont a lortni;,dit hefore he died, he was taken 
with .Htran;^e and vi(dent lits, aetinj^ much likt; to onr poor 
bewitched persons when we thon^xht they would have died ; 
and tlu; doctor that was with him could not find what his 
distemper was. And, the day hefore he died, he was veiy 
cheerly ; but, about midni;,dit, he was aj,'aiu most violently 
seized upon with violent tits, till tiio next night, about luid- 
uight, he departed this life by a cruel death. 
'* Juiat in Curia." 

Ill cxpUiiiatioii of the iiui)<)rt of tluH testimony, it is 
to 1^0 oltserved, that the estate of neiijaiuiii Iloiiltoii 
was eoHliguoiis to that of Fiaiicis Nurse. They were 
se}>{M"ate(i hy a fence, wliieh, as in such cases, was rc- for half its length to be kept in order by one 
party, the reinainlnj:; half by the other. What the 
exact facts were cannot be ascertained, as wc have 
the story of one side only. The widow Iloiilton ap- 
pears to have been a tender-hearted, and, for aught wc 
know, good woman. Some years afterwards, she was 
married, as his second wife, to IkMijamin riitnam, — a 
very respectable person, and, on the death of his father 
Nathaniel, the head of that branch of the family. He 
was, for many years, deacon of the church. But she 
was, it must bo conceded, a prejudiced witness ; aud 


wiTciiriiArr at salkm vii.i.ack. 




her ju(l<j;iU(Mit for tlic time wjis wholly Itccl'iinlnl liy 
the provalont sujK;rstiri(Hi.s. Tlio ^iinliMi luul Ijooii, 
from tlio days of Tuwiisoml IJisliop, a choii'i' inirtioii 
of tlie Nurse ostati;. In all farms, it was a most im- 
j)()rtaiit ami valiial)lt; item ; and was i^cncially nn<l<T 
tho special care antl miina^oin«Mit of tin; wil'f, <lanu,li- 
tors, and yuungcr lads of tho hushandman. Ui^ltecfa 
Nurse was an ellioient iH'ljiuioet; contril»ntiii<^ her 
whole share to the success of tho j^reat enterprise of 
cleariii}^ the estate, as well as in hrinuinu; up and 
edueatin<^ a larj^e family. It was, no doul»t, very pro- 
voking to her, as it wouM he to any one, to have 
vcgetalde and flower l)eds devastated hy the ravaj^es of 
a nei<i,hl)or's stray pigs. To what extent her " railing 
and scolding" went, she was not allowed to contril)Ute 
her statement, to enable us to Judg«;. The allUir 
prohal)ly produced consideraltle gossij), and seeuis to 
he alluded to in Nathaniel l*utnam's certilieate in he- 
half of llehecca Nurse. There is reason to helievo 
that the widow Houlton was one of the first to realize 
what great injustice had been done by her and others 
to the good name of Rebecca Nurse. 

Notwithstanding this evidence, so deeply were the 
jury impressed with the eminent virtue and true 
Christian excellence of this venerable woman, that, in 
spite of tho clamors of the outside crowd, the monstrous 
statements of accusing witnesses, and the strong lean- 
ing of the Court against her, the jury brought in a 
verdict of " Not guilty." Culef, and Hutchinson after 
him, describe the effect, and what followed : — 




" Iinmodiately, all the accusers in the Court, and, suddenly 
after, all the afllicted out of Court, made an hideous outcry; 
to the amazement, not only of the spectators, but the Court 
also seemed strangely surprised. One of the judges ex- 
pressed hin?self not satisfied: another of them, as he was 
going off the bench, said they would have her indicted anew. 
The chief-justice said he would not impose on the jury, but 
intimated as if they had not well considered one expression 
of the prisoner when she was upon trial ; viz., that when one 
Ilnbbs, who had confessed herself to be a witch, was Drought 
into Court lo witness against her, the prisoner, turning her 
head to her, said, ' What ! do you bring her ? She is one of 
us;' or words to that effect. This, together with the 
clamors of the accusers, induced the jury to go out agiiin, 
after tlieir verdict, 'Not guilty.'" 

The foreman of the jury, Thomas Fisk, made this 
statement on tlie 4th of July, a few days after the 
trial : — 

" After the honored Court had manifested their dissatis- 
faction of the verdict, several of the jury declared them- 
selves desirous to go out again, and thereupon the Court 
gave leave ; but, when Ave came to consider the case, I could 
not tell how to take her words as an evidence against her, 
till she had a further opportunity to put her sense upon them, 
if she would take it. And then, going into Court, I mentioned 
the words aforesaid, which by one of the Court were 
affirmed to have been spoken by her, she being then at the 
bar, but made no reply nor interpretation of them ; where- 
upon those words were to me a principal evidence against 





Upon being in'Tuicd of the use made of her words, 
tlie prisoner \m[ m the following declaration: — 

" These presents do humbly show to the honored Court 
• and jury, that I being iLlornied that the jury brought me 
in guilty upon my saying tjiiit Goodwife Ilobbs and her 
daughter were of our company ; but I intended no other- 
•wise than as they wer*; prisoners with us, and therefore 
did then, and yet do, judge thenn not legal evidence against 
their fellow-prisoners. And 1 being something hard of 
hearing and full of grief, none informing me how the Court 
took up my words, and therefore had no opportunity to de- 
clare what I iutoudod when 1 said thev were of our com- 

It was perfectly natural for her to have spoken of 
them as " of our com})any," not only from the lact 
that they had long been crowded together in the same 
jails, but as they had accompanied each other in the 
transferrence from one jail to another, from time to 
time. A few days before, a large party, of which she 
was one, had been brought from lioston, spending the 
whole day together on the route. Sarah Good, John 
Procter and wife, Susaima Martin, Bridget Jiishop, 
and Alice Parker happen to bo mentioned as belonging 
to it.* Calef further states : — 

"After her condemnation, the governor saw cause to 
grant a reprieve, wliich, wlien known (and some say im- 
mediately upon granting), the accusers renewed tlieir dis- 
mal outcries against her ; insomuch that the governor was by 
some Salem gentlemen prevailed with to recall the reprieve, 
and she was executed m itli the rest. 





*' The testimonials of her Christian bcliavior, botli in the 
course of her life and at her death, and her extraordinary 
care in educating her children, and setting them a good ex- 
ample, under the hands of so many, are so numerous, that 
for brevity they are here omitted." 

The extraordinary conduct of " the Salem gentle- 
men," in preventing the intended exercise of executive 
discretion and clemency on this occasion, is exidained, 
it is i)robablc,l)y the fact, stated by Neal in his " History 
of New England," that there was an organized associa- 
tion of private individuals, a committee of vigilance, 
in Salem, during the continuance of the delusion, who 
had undertaken to ferret out and prosecute all sus- 
pected persons. He says that many were arrested and 
thrown into prison by their influence and interference. 
It is hardly to be doubted, that the persons who busied 
themselves to prevent the reprieve of Rebecca Nurse 
acted under the authority and by the direction of this 
self-constituted body of inquisitors. The agency of 
such unauthorized and irresponsible combinations is 
always of questionable expediency. When acting in 
the same line with an excited populace, they are ex- 
tremely dangerous. 

There is iio more disgraceful record in the judicial 
annals of the country, than that which relates the trial 
of this excellent woman. The wave of popular fury 
made a clear breach over the judgment-scat. The loud 
and malignant outcry of an infatuated mob, inside 
and outside of the Court-house, instead of being yielded 
to, ought to have been, not only sternly rebuked, but 








visited with prom|)t and cxonijdary piinislimcnt. The 
judges Averc not only overcome and intimidated from 
the faitliful diseliargc of tlieir sacred duty l>y a 
clamoring crowd, hut they phiycd into their lumds. 
ITutcliinson iustlv remarks, that their conduct was in 
viohition of tliat rule to execute " law and Justice 
in mercv," which ought always to he written on their 
hearts. " In a capital case, the Court often refuses a 
verdict of ' Guilty ;' l>ut rarely, if ever, sends a jury out 
again upon one of ' Not guilty.' " The statement made 
by the foreman of the jury, Avitli the subsequent ex- 
planation of the ])risoner, taken in comicction with 
the ground on which the chief-justice sent the jury 
out again after rendering their verdict of "Not guilty," 
made it tl»e dutv of the Court and the executive to 
give to her the benefit of that verdict. 

At the trial of her mother, Sarah Xurse — aged 
twenty-eight years or thereabouts — offered this piece 
of testimony : that, " being in the Court, this 20th of 
June, 1G92, 1 saw Goodwifc Bil)bcr pull pins out of her 
clothes, and held them l)etwecn her fingers, and clasped 
her hands round her knee ; and then she cried out, and 
said. Goody Xurse pinched her." In all these trials, 
Mercy Lewis was a principal witness and actor ; yet 
wc find, among the i)apers, testimony from the most 
respectable and relial)le persons, that she was not to 
be trusted. Tliere was also testimony which ought 
to have broken the force of the depositions of Ann 
Putnam and her mother. Four days after the ex- 
amination and commitment of Rebecca Nurse, John 




Tarboll and f-^anniel Nurse went to the house of Tlionias 
Putniun to find out in wliiit way tlieir niothei" had been 
made tlie object of sucli shoekhig accusations. They 
were men whose credibility was never Itrouglit iji ques- 
tion. Their dechirations, on this occasion, were not 
disputed, and, if not true, might liave been ovcrtln-own ; 
for tlicre were many witnesses of tlie facts tliey stated. 
Tarbell swore as follows : " Upon discourse of many 
things, I asked whether the girl that was afriicted did 
first speak of Goody Xursc, before others mentioned 
her to her. They said she told them she saw the 
ap}}aritioii of a j)ale-faced woman that sat in her 
grandmother's seat, but did not know her name. 
Then I replied and said, ' But who was it that told her 
that it was Goody Nurse?' Mercy Lewis said it was 
Goody Putnam that said it was Goody Nurse. Goody 
Putnam said that it was Mercy Lewis that told her. 
Thus they turned it upon one another, saying, ' It was 
you,' and ' It was you that told her.' " Samuel Nurse 
testified to the same. 

There was another piece of evidence, which, though 
brought against Rebecca Nurse, bears harder, as we 
read it now, u})on Ann Putnam than any one else, 
and makes it more difficult to palliate her conduct 
on the supposition of partial insanity. It is, all along, 
one of the obscure problems of our subject to deter- 
mine how far delusion may have been accompanied by 
fraud and imposture. Edward Putnam testified, that 
" Ann Putnam, Jr., was bitten by Rebecca Nurse, as she 
said, about two of the clock of the day " after Rebecca 



I. ^ 


Xurso had l)ccu coinnilttcd to jail, and while she was 
several miles distant, in Salem ; and the said Nurse also 
struck said Ann Putnam with her spectral chain, leaving 
a mark, " heing in a kind of a round ring, and three 
streaks across the ring: she had six blows with a chain 
in the space of half an hour ; and she had one re- 
markable one, with six streaks across her arm." 
Edward Putnam swears, " I saw the mark, both of bite 
and chains." The Court, no doubt, were solemnly 
impressed by this amazing evidence ; but it is hard to 
avoid the conclusion that Ann Putnam was guilty of 
elaborate falsehood and a studied trick. 

In the trials at this session, one of the " afflicted 
children " cried out against the Rev. Samuel Willard, 
of the Old South Church, in Boston. " She was sent 
out of Court, and it was told about that she was mis- 
taken in the person." There was surely evidence 
enough against the honesty and credibility of the 
accusers to leave the judges without excuse, and 
justly meriting perpetual condemnation for not pay- 
ing heed to it. 

The case of Rebecca Nurse proves that a verdict 
could not have been obtained against a person of her 
character charged with witchcraft in this county, had 
not the most extraordinary efforts been made by the 
prosecuting officer, aided by the whole influence of 
the Court and provincial authorities. The odium of 
the proceedings at the trials and at the executions 
cannot fairly be laid upon Salem, or the people of this 

VOL. II, 19 



il \ 

But nothing can oxtcnimte tlic infamy tliat must for 
ever rest ui)on tlic names of certain j)artics to tlio 
procccdinfrs. Not to attempt licre to measure the 
guilt of the accusing witnesses, it may he mentioned 
tliat it was the deliherate conviction of tlie family of 
Rchccca Nurse, that Mr. Parris, more than all other 
persons, was responsihle for her execution ; whether 
hy his oihcious activity in driving on the prosecution, 
or in preventing her reprieve, cannot he known. Of 
the i)rominent part taken hy Mr. Noyes in the cruel 
treatment of this woman, there is no room for douht. 
The records of the First Church in Salem are dark- 
ened hy the following entry : — 

" 1G92, July 3. — After s.acranicnt, the cUers propounded 
to tlie church, — and it was, by an unauimous vote, consented 
to, — that our sister Nurse, being a convicted witch by the 
Court, and condemned to die, should be excommunicated; 
which Avas accordingly done in the afternoon, she beio'T 

The scene presented on this occasion must have 
hcen truly impressive at the time, as it is shocking to 
lis in the retrospect. The action of the church, at the 
close of the morning service, of course "uecame nni- 
versally known ; and the " great and spacious meeting- 
house " was thronged hy a crowd that filled every 
nook and corner of its floor, galleries, and windows. 
The sheriff and his suhordinates hrought in the pris- 
oner, manacled, and the chains clanking from her 
aged form. She was placed in the hroad aisle. Mr. 





nig;;iiisoii and Mr. Xoj'cs — the elders, as the cler«ry 
were tlicii called — were in the pulpit. The two ruling 
elders — who were lay oflicers — and the two deacons 
were in their proper seats, directly below and in front 
of the pulpit. }t[r. Xoyes pronounced the dread sen- 
tence, which, for such ti crime, was then believed to he 
not merely an expulsion from the church on earth, but 
an exclusion from the church in heaven. It was meant 
to be understood as an eternal doom. As it had been 
proved, in his estimation, beyond a (picstion, that she 
had given her soul to the Devil, he delivered her over 
to the great adversary of God and man. 

From the dismal cell, which, for but a few days 
longer, was to hold her body, he proclaimed the trans- 
ferrence of her soul to — 

"A ilmi<?con horrible on all sides round, 
As one great furnace flamed ; yet from those flames 
No light, but rather darkness visible ; 
Eegions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace 
And rest can never dwell ; hope never conies 
That comes to all ; but torture without end, 
As far removed from God, and light of heaven, 
As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole." 

Language and imagery, exhausting the resources of 
the divine genius of the greatest of })oets, fail to give 
expression to what was felt to be the import of this 
fearful sentence. It sunk the recipient of it below the 
reach of human sympathy. She was regarded, by that 
blinded multitude, with a horror that cast out pity, and 
was full of hate. But in our view now, and, as we 
believe, in the view of God and angels then, she 







occupied an infinite height above her persecutors. 
Ilor minJ was serenely fixed uimjii higlier scenes, and 
filled with a peace which the world could not take 
away, or its cruel wrongs disturb. Slie went back to 
her prison walls, and then to the scaffold, Avith a ])ious 
and humble faith which has not failed to be recorded 
among men, as it has been rewarded where the wicked 
cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. 

Calef, as already quoted, gives the impression pro- 
duced by her demeanor at her death. Hutchinson 
expresses in the following words the judgment of his- 
tory and the sense of all coming times : — 

" Mr. Noycs, the miuistcr of Salem, a zealous prosecutor, 
excommunicated the poor old woman, and delivered her 
to Satan, to Avliom he supposed she had formally f^iven her- 
self up many years before ; but her life and conversation 
had hcf^i such, that the remembrance thereof, in a sliort 
time after, wiped off all the reproach occasioned by the civil 
or ecclesiastical sentence against her." 

It is impossible to close the story of the lot assigned 
to this good woman by an inscrutable Providence, 
without again contemi)latiiig it in a condensed reca- 
pitulation. In her old age, experiencing a full share 
of all the delicate inlirniitics which the instincts of 
humanity require to be treated with careful and rev- 
erent tenderness, she w'as ruthlessly snatched from the 
bosom of a loving family reared by her pious fidelity in 
all Christian graces, from the side of the devoted com- 
panion of her long life, from a home that was endeared 


q e; 




k w 


by every grateful association and comfort ; immured iu 
the most wretched and crowded jails ; kept loaded with 
irons and hound with cords for months ; insulted and 
niili;^ned at the preliminary examinations; outraged 
in her person by rough and unfeeling handling and 
scrutiny ; and in her riglits, by the most flagrant and 
detestabh; judicial oppression, l)y which the benefit of 
a verdict, given in her fuvor, had been torn away ; 
carried to the meeting-house to receive the sentence 
of excommunication in a manner devised to harrow 
her most sacred sentiments ; and finally carted through 
the streets by a route every foot of which must have 
been distressing to her infirm and enfeebled frame ; 
made to ascend a rough and rocky path to the place 
of execution, and there consigned to the hangman. 
Surely, there has seldom been a harder fate. 

Her body was probaldy thrown with the rest into a 
hole in the crevices of the rock, and covered hastily 
and thinly over l)y the executioners. It has been the 
constant tradition of the family, that, in some way, it 
was recovered ; and the spot is pointed out in the burial- 
place belonging to the estate, where her ashes rest by 
the side of her husband, and in the midst of her 
chiidren. It is certain, that, at least, one other body 
was thus exhumed, and taken to its own proper jdace 
of burial. From the known character of Francis 
Nurse and 1 is sons and sons-in-law, we may be sure 
that what others could do they did not suffer to re- 
main undone. It is left to the imagination to present 
the details of the sad and secret enterprise. In tho 




darkness of inidiiiglit, tlioy found and idenlifiod the 
body, and boro it tundr ' tluMr unus al()n<j; tlio 

silent roads and Ity-ways, auioss fields and over fenees, 
to the old lionio, where it was reeeived by the asscMu- 
bled family, mourned over, and eared for; and, durin<^ 
that or the ensuin<^ night, deposited, with tears and 
prayers, in Iheir own eonscerated grounds, ller de- 
scendants of successive generations owned and rever- 
ently guarded the spot. They own and guard it to- 
day. The interesting reminiscences connected Avith 
the early history of the Nurse house have been alluded 
to. It has witnessed an extraordinary variety of the 
conditions of domestic vicissitude. Scenes rising be- 
fore the mind in contemplative retrospection, while 
gazing upon it, present the ci'tremest contrasts of 
human experience. On the evening of the 25th of 
October, 1G78, j\Iary and Elizabeth Nurse were mar- 
ried. Such an occurrence was undoubtedly the oc- 
casion of the highest joy and gladness in a happy 
household. The old mansion shone in light, and 
echoed voices of cheer. How altered its as])ect ! 
What darkness and silence brooded over and within 
it, while those same daughters waited, watched, and 
listened, througb the solemn hours of that night of 
woe and liorror, for the coming of their father, hus- 
bands, and brothers, bearing to the home, from which 
she had been so cruelly torn, the remains of their 
slaughtered mothoi ! 

The subsecjuent history of the house presents a 
circumstance of singular interest in connection with 









our stDiy. All tlio in(Mnl)ers of tlio tlu'oc l»rani*ljc.s ot 
tlio l*uti»juu fiiuiily, with llio excoption of Joseph, soom 
to have heoii curried away hy tho witciicraft (h'hisioii, 
in its oarly stages, and were more or less aetivi; in 
pushing on tlie prosecutions. We liavc seen how llerco 
was the maniac testimony of Mrs. Ann Putnam and 
her daughter against Rebecca Nurse. Tho hipso of 
time, hy a Providence that wonderfully works its ends, 
lias re|)aircd the breaches made by folly and wrong. 
Tlie descendants of the numerous family of Mrs. Ann 
Putnam have disappeared from the scene : none of 
them bearing the mime arc in the village. The de- 
scendants of Deacon Edward Putnam have also scat- 
tered in emigration to other i)laces. Nathaniel and 
John, the heads of the other two branches of tho 
family, although involved in the witchcraft delusion, 
each signed papers in favor of Rebecca Nurse ; their 
descendants, as well as those of Joseph, arc still 
numerous in the village, hold their old position of 
respectability and influence, and many of them occupy 
the lands of their ancestors. Stephen, the grandson 
of Nathaniel, married Miriam, the grand-daughter of 
John. Their son Phinchas, in 1784, bought the Nurse 
homestead from Benjamin Nurse, the great-grandson 
of Rebecca. Orin Putnam, the great-grandson of 
Phinehas, to ,vhom the estate descends, married in 
1836 the daughter of Allen Nurse, a direct descendant 
of Rebecca, and placed her at tho head of her old an- 
cestral homestead. The children of that marriage, 
with their father and grandfather, constitute the family 





that dwell ill .111(1 own tlio venoniltlo luiiiisioii. This 
Hiu<:;ul{ir roKtoratioM, .Hu<r;;ostiuj^ sucli j)lt'asing sonti- 
inonts, adds aiiothor to tlio rcmarkaltlo clonieiits of in- 
terest belonging to the history of the Townscnd-iJishop 

The deseondants of Francis and Ileheeca Nurso 
arc nunu'rous, and have honoral)ly perpeUiated Iho 
name. Ain(Mig them may ho mentioned the Rev. 
Peter Nurse, a gradnate of Harvard College in 1S02, 
for some years lihrarian of that institution, an excellent 
schohir, and h»ng universally respected as a clergy- 
man ; and Amos Nurse, a gi-aduate of the same 
college in 1812, — an eminent physician connected with 
the nu'dical faculty of IJowdoin College, a man of dis- 
tinguished talent and influence in j»uhlie aflairs, and 
senator i Congress from the State of Maine. 

The Court met again on the r)th of August, and 
tried (Jeorge Burroughs; John Procter and r.lizahcth, 
his wife; George Jacobs, Sr. ; John Wilhiid ; and 
Martha Carrier. They were all condemned, and, with 
the exception of Elizabeth Procter, executed on the 
19th of the same month. 

Hutchinson describes the trial of Burroughs. After 
speaking of the evidence of the " alllictcd j)crsons " 
and the confessing witches, he mentions other circum- 
stances which were thought to corroborate it : " One 
was, that, being a little man, he had performed feats 
beyond the strength of a giant ; viz., had held out a 
gun of seven feet barrel with one hand, and had carried 
a barrel full of cider from a canoe to the shore." Bur- 


wnnirriArT at vii.i.acjf. 




n)U<:-]is saiil that an Indian {irrsiMit at tlic tinu> (ii<l the 
saniL'. Instantly, the accusors saiil it was " tho hhu'k 
luau, or the Devil, who," they swoiv, '' looks lik(! an 
Indian." Another |)ieee of evidence was, that he 
■went from ont; j)laee to another, on a certain oeeasion, 
in a shorter tinit; than was possible had not the |)evil 
lielped Idni. lie said, in answer, that another man ae- 
conijtanieil him. Tiieii- reply to this was, that it was 
the Devil, usinj^ the appearance of anotlier man. So 
•whatever he said was tui'neil auainst him. Jlntch- 
insoii Hays, " Upon the whole, he was confonnded, 
and used many twistings and turnings, which, 1 think, 
"we cannot wonder at." This fair and jinlieions writer, 
like Hratths, appears in the foreg(>ing remark to have 
adopted the common scandal, put in circulation hy 
jiarties interested to disparage Mr. Hurroughs. The 
])apers in this case, that have come down to us, are 
more numerous than in reference to numy others 
among the suilerers ; and they do not l)ear such au 
impression. Mr. IJurroughs was astounded at the 
monstrous folly and falsehood with which he was sur- 
rounded, lie was a man without guile, and incapable 
of ap[)reeiating such wickedness. lie tried, in sim- 
plicity and ingenuousness, to explain v.hat was brought 
against him; and this, probably, was all the " twisting 
and turning" he exhibited. 

Hutchinson had the benefit of consulting all tlio 
papers belonging to this and other trials ; but neither 
he nor Calef seems to have noticed one remarkablo 
fact : many of the de])ositions, how many we cannot 




tell, wore ])rocure(] after the trials were ever, and sur- 
reptitiously foisted in among the ])ai)ers to holster up 
the proceedings. We find, for instance, the following 
deposition : — 

" Thomas Grkexslitt, nged about forty years, being 
deposed, testifietli that, about the first breaking-out of tliis 
last Indian war, being at the house of Captain Josliua 
Scotto at Black Point, he saw Mr. George Burrows, who 
was lately executed at Salem, lift a gun of six-foot barrel 
or thereabouts, putting tlie forefinger of liis right liand into 
the muzzle of said gun, and tluit lie held it out at arms' 
end, only with that finger : and further this deponent testifietli, 
that, at the same time, he saw the said Burrows take up a 
full barrel of molasses with but two of the fingers of one of 
his hands in the bung, and carry it from the stage head to the 
door at tlie end of the stage, without letting it down ; and that 
Lieutenant Rlcliard Ilunniwell and John Greenslitt were then 
present, and some others that are dead. Sept. 15, "J2." 

Not only the date to this deposition, hut its express 
language, })roves that it could not have heen used at the 
trial. There is another, to the same effect and of the 
same date, that is, nearly a month after Burroughs was 
thrown into his grave. There are others of the same 
kind. This stamps the management of the prosecutions, 
and of those concerned in the charge of the papers, 
with an irregularity of the grossest kind, which partakes 
strongly of the character of fraud and falsehood. 

AVhen it was found that there was beginning to 
grow up a want of confidence in " spectre evidence " 
and the testimony of the alTlictcd children, those con- 

I h 




' ».!. 







cernod in the prosecutions became alarmed lest a 
re-action of public sentiment might take place. The 
persons who had brought ^Ir. Burroughs to his death 
concluded that their best escape from j)ublic indig- 
nation was to accumulate evidence against him after 
he was in his grave, particularly on the point of his 
superhuman strength ; and they got up these depo- 
sitions, and caused them to be put among the paj)ers 
on file. Grea;; stress was laid, by those who Averc 
interested in damaging his character and supi)ressing 
symj)athy in his fate, upon this particular ])roof of 
his having been in confederacy with the Devil. In- 
crease Mather said, that, in his judgment, it was con- 
clusive evidence that he " had the Devil to be his 
familiar," and that, had he been on the jury, he could 
not, on this account, have concurred in a verdict of 
acquittal ; and Cotton Mather, feeling the importance 
of making the most of Mr. Burroughs's extraordinary 
strength, gives way to his tendency to indulge in the 
marvellous, as follows : — 

" God had been pleased so to leave this George Bur- 
roughs, tliat he had ensuared himself by several instances 
which he had formerly given of preternatural strength, 
and which were now produced against him. He was a very 
puny man, yet he had ot'teu done things beyond the strength 
of a giant. A gun of about seven-foot barrel, and so heavy 
that strong men could not steadily hold it out with both 
hands, — there were several testimonies given in by persons 
of credit and honor, that he made nothing of taking up 
such a gun behind the lock with but one hand, and holding 
it out, like a pistol, at arms' cud. Yea, there were two 







testimonies, that George Burrouglis, with only putting the 
forefinger of his right hanfl into tlie muzzle of a heavy gun, 
a fowling-piece of ahout six or seven foot barrel, did lift 
up the gun, and hold it out at arms' end, — a gun which the 
deponents thought strong men could not with both hands 
lift up, and hold at the butt end, as is usual." 

It is further observable, in rofercncc to the fore- 
going deposition from Groenslitt, that it was given 
six days after the condemnation of his mother, Ann 
Pudcator, and a weelv before her execution. Cotton 
jNIatlier says that he " was overpersuaded by others 
to be out of the wav 111)011 Georii'e Burrouglis's trial," 
six weeks before. He did not fail, however, to come 
to Salem to be with his mother at her trial and until 
lier death, and being here was compelled to give his 
deposition. Ilis mother's life was at the mercy of 
the prosecutors ; and he was tempted, in the vain hope 
of conciliating that mercy, to gratify them by making 
the statement about Burroughs a month after his 
execution, and whom it could not tlicn harm. What 
he said was probably no more than the truth. It has 
been found that the power of the human muscles can 
be cultivated to a surprising extent ; and the feats 
ascribed to Burroughs, without making much allow- 
ance for a natural degree of exaggeration, have been 
fully equalled in our day. 

Calef gives the following account of hjs execution : — 

"Mr. Burrou<;hs was carried in a cart with the others, 


through the streets of Salem, to execution. When he was 
upoL' the ladder, he made a speech foi 


the clearin^jr of his 






innoccnoy, with sncli sok'inu and serious expressions as 
were to the admiration of all present. His prayer (which 
lie coiK'luded by repeating the Lord's Prayer) was so well 
worded, and uttered with such coniposedness and such (at 
least seeinin<r) fervency of spirit, as was very affecting, and 
drew tears from many, so that it seemed to some that the 
spectators would hinder the execution. The accusers said 
the black man stood and dictated to him. As soon as he 
was turned otf^ Mr. Cotton Mather, being mounted upon a 
horse, addressed himself to the people, partly to declare that 
he (Mr. Burrouglis) was no ordained minister, and partly 
to possess the people of his guilt, saying that the Devil often 
had been transformed into an angel of light; and this some- 
what appeased the people, and the executions went on. AVhen 
he was cut down, he Avas dragged by a halter to a hole, or 
grave, between the rocks, about two feet deep ; his shirt and 
breeches being pulled off, and an old pair of trousers of one 
executed put on his lower parts: he was so put in, together 
with Willard and Carrier, that one of his hands, and his 
chin, and a foot of one of them, was left uncovered." 

Cotton Mather, not satisfied witli tins display of 
animosity, at a moment when every human heart, how- 
ever imblttercd by prejudice, is hushed for the time 
in solemn silence, attemj)ts, in an account afterwards 
given of Mr. Burroughs's trial, to blacken his char- 
acter by an elaborate dress! ng-u[) of the absurd stories 
told by the accusers, and a perverse misrepresenta- 
tion of tlio demeanor of the accused. He relate., with" 
apparent glee what was regarded as a wonderful 
achievement of adroitness on the part of Chief-justice 
Stoughton in trai)i)ing ^fr. burroughs, and i)utting 
the laugh upon him in Court. 

t < 










" It cost the Court a wonderful deal of trouble to hear 
the testimouics of the sufferers; for, when they were going 
to give in their depositions, they would for a long while 
be tiiken with fits, that made them quite uncapalde of saying 
any thing. The chief judge asked the prisoner, who he 
thouirht hindered these witnesses from "ivinn: their testimo- 

lud h( 

d, h 

d it 

the Devil. Th 

iswereu, lie supposed 
iionorable person then replied, ' How comes the Devil so 
loath to have any testimony borne against you ? ' Which 
cast him into very great confusion." 

From Avliat fell from him, at tlv -rcliminary ex- 
amination, it is evident that it did not occur to him 
as a possibility that lutman nature could be capable 
of the guilt of such a wilful fabrication and imposture 
on the part of the " afilicted children." He beheld 
their sufferings, and he knew his own innocence. He 
felt, whatever his theological creed might have been, 
that a Devil Avas required to explain the mystery. 
The apparent sufferings of the accusing witnesses con- 
vinced Court, jury, and all, of the guilt of the accused. 
The logic of the chief-justice was perfectly absurd. 
For, if the Devil caused the sufferings, he was an adverse 
party to the prisoner. This, hov/ever, overthrows the 
whole theory of the prosecution, which was that the pris- 
oner and the Devil were in league with each other. But 
the judge, jiiry, and people, all equally blinded and 
stupefied by the delusion, did not see it; and they 
chuckled over the alleged confusion of the prisoner. 
All thoughtful persons will concur in ^Ir. Burroughs's 
opinion, that, if ever a diabolical power had possession 








' 1. 

of human heings, it was in the case of tlie wretclied 
creatures wlio enacted tlic })art of the accusing girls 
in the witchcraft proceedings. In his account of the 
trial, iMatiier nialvcs statements which sliow that lie 
was i»rivy to the fact, that testimony, sulisecjuently 
taken, was lodged with the evidence helonging to the 
case. Tlie documents prove that it was done to an 
extent beyond what he acknowledges. 

Considering that none dared to siiow the least sym- 
pathy with the i)ersons on trial, that they had none to 
counsel or stand hy them, that the {tuhlic j)assions 
were incensed against them as against no other per 
sons ever charged with crime, — it being vastly more 
flagrant than any other crime, a rebellion against 
heaven and earth, God and man ; a deliberate selling of 
the soul to the Arch-enemy of souls for the ruin of all 
other souls, — in view of all these things, it is truly as- 
tonishing, that, by the documents themselves, j)roceed- 
ing, as in almost all cases they do, from hostile and 
imbittered sources, wc arc conii)elled to the conviction, 
that, in their imprisonments, trials, and deaths, the 
victims of this savage delusion manifested — in most 
cases eminently, and in all substantially — tbe marks, 
not only of innocent, but of elevated and heroic minds. 
A review of what can be gleaned in reference to 
Mr. Burrouiihs at Casco JJav and Salem \'illaue, and 
a considerate survey and scrutiny of all that has 
reached us from the day of his arrest to the moment 
of his death, have left a decided impression, that he 
was an able, intelligent, true-minded man ; ingenuous, 






sincere, luuuljlc in liis spirit; faithful and devoted as a 
minister ; and active, generous, and disinterested as 
a citi/cn. His descendants, under his own name and 
the names of Newman, Fowlc, llolbrook, Fox, Tliomas, 
and others, have been numerous and rcspectaldc. Tlie 
late Isaiah Thomas, LL.D., was one of them. 

From the account given of John Procter, in the 
First Part, it is apparent that he was a jx'rson of 
decided cliaracter, and, although impulsive and liable 
to be imprudent, of a manly sj)irit, honest, earnest, 
and bold in word and deed. He saw through the 
-whole thing, and was convinced that it was the result 
of a conspiracy, deliberate and criminal, on the part of 
the accusers. lie gave free utterance to his indig- 
nation at their conduct, and it cost him his life. 

A few days ])efore his trial, he made his will. There 
is no reference in it to his particular situation. Ilis 
signature to the document is accurately represented 
among the autograjjhs given in this work. It was 
written while the manacles were on him. Notwith- 
standing the danger to which any one was ex])osed who 
expressed symj)athy for convicted or accused persons, 
or doubt of their guilt, a large number had the manli- 
ness to try to save tliis worthy and honest citizen. 
John "Wise, one of the ministers of Ipswich, heads 
the list of petitioners from that jjlace. The document 
is in his handwriting. Thirty-one others joined in the 
act, many of them among the most respectable citizens 
of that town. Mr. Wise was a learned, able, and 
enlightened man. He had a free spirit, and was per- 









liaps the only minister in the nci<rliborliood or country, 
who was discerning enougli to sec tlie crroneoiisness of 
tlie proceedings from the beginning. The petition is 
as follows : — 

" The Humhlc arid Sincere Declaration of iis, Suhscrihcrs, 

Inhahitants in Ipswich, on the Behalf of onr Neighbors, 

John Procter and his Wife, now in Trouble a7id 

under Suspicion of Witchcraft. 



*^ TTonored and Rltjht Worshipful, — The uforesaid John 
Procter may have great reason to justify the Divine Sover- 
eignty of God under these severe remarks of Providence 
upon his peace and honor, under a due reflection upon his 
life past ; and so the best of us have reason to adore the 
great pity and indulgence of God's providence, that we are 
not exposed to the utmost shame that the Devil can invent, 
under the permissions of sovereignty, tliough not for that 
sin forenamcd, yet for our many transgressions. For we do 
at present suppose, that it m.'iy be a method within the se- 
verer but just transactions of the infinite majesty of God, 
that he sometimes may permit Sathau to personate, dis- 
semble, and thereby abuse innocents and such as do, in the 
fear of God, defy the Devil and all his works. The great 
rage he is permitted to attempt holy Job with ; the abuse he 
does the famous Samuel in disquieting his silent dust, by 
shadowing his venerable person in answer to the charms of 
witchcraft ; and other instances from good hands, — may be 
arguments. Besides the uusearehable footsteps of God's 
judgments, that arc brought to light every morning, that as- 
VOL. u. 20 





tonisli our weaker reasons ; to teach us atloratinu, trenil)Unfr, 
dcpcndenee, &c. But we must not trouble Your Honors hy 
being tedious. Tliercfbre, being smitten with ihe notice of 
what luith happened, Ave reckon it within the duties of our 
charit};, that tcacheth us to do as we wouhl be done by, to 
offer thus much for the ch-aring of our neighbors' innocency; 
viz., that we never had the least knowledge of such a nc- 
fandous Avickedness in our said neighbors, since they have 
been within our acquaintance. Neither do w remember 
any such thoughts in us concerning them, or any action by 
them or either of them, directly tending that Avay, no more 
than might be in the lives of any oilier persons of the clear- 
est reputation as to any such evils. AVliat God may have 
left them to, we cannot go into God's pavilion clothed with 
clouds of darkness round about; but, as to what we have 
ever seen or heard of them, upon our consciences avc judge 
them innocent of the crime objected. His breeding hath 
been amongst us, and was of religious parents in our place, 
and, by reason of relations and properties within our town, 
hath had constant intercourse Avith us. We speak upon our 
personal acquaintance and observation ; and so leave our 
neighbors, and this our testimony on their behalf, to the wise 
thoughts of Your Honors. 

Jn? Wise. Nathanill Pkhkixs Eknjamix Maushall 

William Story Sen": Thomas Lovkixk. John Andukws Ju! 

Reinalld Fosteu William Cogswkll. AVilliam Bltlkr. 

Tiios. CnoTE. Thomas Vahny. William Andreavs. 

Joiix BuRXUM Si .Joi!\ Felloavs. Joiix Andreavs, 

William Thoaisonn. Cocsavell Ju': John Chote So": 

Tiio. Low SeiU Jonathan Cogsavell. Josei-h Procter. 

Isaac Foster. John Cogsavell Ju. Sajiiel Gidoing 

John Burnum jun'. John Cogsavell. Joseph Evleth 


Isaac Perkins. Joseph Andreavs." 




I have given the nnines of the men who siirnod tliis 
paper, as co])ied from tlje oriiiinal. It is (hie to tlieir 
memory ; and tlicir descendants may well he grati- 
fied by the testimony thus borne to their courage and 

Their neighbors living near the bounds of the village 
presented the following paper, in the handwriting of 
Felton, the first signer. From the a))pcarance of the 
document, it seems that a portion of it, probably con- 
taining an equal number of names, has been cut out 
by scissors. 

" Wc whose names arc undorwritten, having several 
years known John Procter and his wife, do testify that 
we never heard or understood that they were ever snsj)e(!ted 
to be guilty of the erinie now cliarged upon tlicin ; and sev- 
eral of us, being tlieir near neighbors, do testify, that, to our 
apprehension, they lived Christian-like in their fa. i.ily, and 
were ever ready to help such as stood in need of their help. 

"Nathan'ikl Fei.tox, Sr., and Mahy his ^vife. 
Samukl Maijsii, and Timscilla liis wife. 
James IIoultox, and Ruth his wife. 
JoHX Fklton. 
Nathanikl Fki.tox, Jr. 
Samuel Fkayi.t,, and An his wife. 
/,A.'nARiAii Maksh, and Maky Iiis wife. 
Sawi ',L Endecott, and IIanau liis wife 
Samuel Stone. 
George Lockek. 

Samuel Gaskil, and ruovioEU liis wife. 
George Smith. 
Edward Gaskil." 


In addition to this testimony in their favor, evidence 
was offered, at their trial, that one of the accusing 




witnesses luul denied, ont of Court, wluit slic had 
sworn to in Court; and declared that she must, at tlic 
time, have l)ecn " out of her head," and tiiat she had 
never intended to accuse tlieni. It was further proved, 
that another of the accusin*^' witnesses acknowlcd«>cd 
that she had sworn falsely, and tried to explain away 
her testimony in Court, acknowledging that what the 
girls said was " for sport. They must have some 
sport." J]ut neither the testimony in their favor from 
those who had known them through liib, nor the pal- 
pable and decisive manner in which the evidence 
against them had been impeached and exposed, could 
open the eyes of the infatuated Court and Jury. 

After his conviction, he requested, in vain, time 
enough to prepare himself for death, and make the 
necessary arrangements of his business and for the 
welfare of his family ; and the statement has come 
down to us, that Mr. Noyes refused to pray with him, 
unless he would confess himself guilty. The following 
letter, addressed by him to the ministers named, in 
behalf of himself and fellow-prisoners, gives a truly 
sliocking account of the outrages connected with the 
prosecutions. It illustrates the courage of the writer 
in exposing them, and is a sensible and manly appeal 
and remonstrance. There is ground for sup])Osing 
that the ministers addressed were known not to be 
entirely carried away by the delusion. The fact that 
Mr. Mather— -meaning, of course. Increase Mather — 
is the first named, corroborates other evidence that he 
was boginning to entertain doubts about the propriety 




of the proceedings. Of tl\o Rev. Jjunos Allen, much 
1ms lieeii said in coniieclioii with the Townseiid-nishop 
fiirm. He had becMi ji eleruTinan in Kn_ulan<l, and was 
siltMieed hy the Act of rniforniity, in ^^')(]'2. lie came 
to New England ; and, aft(n' oHicititing as an assistant 
to the Rev. Mr. Davenport, in the First Church at lios- 
ton, for six years, was ordained as its preacher iu lOCiH. 
He was of independent fortune, and suhsc(iuently took 
a leading part with those opjtosed to the j)arty that had 
favored the witchcraft prosecutions. He must have 
known Rebecca Nurse quite intimately, and much of 
the influence used in her favor, and which almost saved 
her, may ho attributed to him ; there was a particular 
intimacy between him and Increase Mather, and to- 
gether they held Cotton Mather somewhat in check, 
occasionally at least. The Rev. Joshua Moody had 
been settled in the ministry at Portsmouth, Now 
Hampshire. In the maintenance of the principles uf 
religious liberty ho suffered a long imprisonment, and 
was afterwards exiled by arbitrary power. He was 
then invited to the First Church in Boston, where he 
preached from lii84 to l()0o, when he returned to 
Portsmouth. He died in Vodl. By his active exer- 
tions, ]\[r. and Mrs. English were enabled to escape 
from the jail at Boston. The Rev. Samuel Willard, 
pastor of the Old South Church in Boston, was one of 
the most revered and beloved ministers in the country. 
His publications were numerous, learned, and valuable ; 
consisting of discourses, tracts, and volumes. His 
" Body of Divinity " is an elaborate and systematic 




work, ('()ini)risiii<j,' two luiiidriMl uiul lil'ty lectures on tlio 
Assembly's Oiiteehism. Tluit l*n)ct('r was nut in error 
in HUpposiiijj; Mr. Willaid open to reason on the sub- 
ject is (lenionstrat(;(l by the liict, that the "uniicted 
f^irls " were be^iiuiin*^ to cry out aj!;ainst this eminent 
divine. The Rev. John l»ailey was one of the ejec^ted 
ministers who had here souj^ht refuge from oppression 
in the mother-country. He was a distinguished i)er- 
son, associated with Mr. Allen and Mr. Moody in 
the ministry of the First Church at Boston. Cotton 
Mather made him the sul>j(!ct of tlie strongest enlo- 
gium in liis " Magnalia." Procter addressed his letter 
to these persons because he ))elieved them to be su- 
perior in wisdom and candid in si)irit. It cannot bo 
doubted that the good men did what they could iu 
his behalf, but in vain. 

" Salem Tkison, July 2;}, lfyj2. 

"J//-. Malhery Mr. Allen, Mr. Moody^ Mr. Willard, and 

Mr. P^ailcy. 

" Rkvkukni> Gkntlemkn, — Tlie iuuocency of our case, 
witli the cuinity of our accusers antl our judges and jury, 
whom nothing but our innocent blood will serve, having con- 
demned us already before our trials, being so much incensed 
and enraged against us by the Devil, makes us bold to beg 
and implore your favorable assistance of this our humble 
petition to His Excellency, that if it be possible our innocent 
blood may be spared, which undoubtedly otherwise will be 
shed, if the Lord doth not mercifully step iu ; the magis- 
trates, ministers, juries, and all the people in general, being 


wrrciicuAiT at salkm villaoe. 



HO miH'li ciirap;c(l and incensed n.L'uiust u,h by tlie ilelu«it»n of 
the Devil, wliicli wo can term no other, by reason wo know, 
in onr own .•onseiisncert, we are all innocent persons. Here 
are five persons who have lately e{)nl\'ssi!<l themselves to bo 
witches, and do accnse some of us of bein^ alon;; with them 
at n sacranjent, sin^'e we were committed into «dose prison, 
wiiich we know to be lies. Two of the live are (Carrier's 
sons) yonn}^ men, who woidd not eoid'ess any thing till they 
tied them neck and heels, till the blood was ready to come 
out of their noses; and it is credibly believe.d and reported 
this was the occasion of makinj; them confess what they 
never did, by rt-asou they said one had been a witch u 
month, and another five weeks, and that their mother iniido 
them so, who has been confined here this nine weeks. My 
son, William Procter, when lie was examined, because he 
would not confess that he was guilty, when he was innocent, 
they tied him neck and heels till the blood gushed out at his 
nose, and would have kept him so twenty-four hours, if one, 
more merciful than the rest, had nut taken pity on him, and 
caused him to be unbound. 

" These actions are very like the I'opish cruelties. They 
have already undone us in our estates, and that will not 
servo their turns without our innocent blood. If it cannot 
be granted that we can have oiu* trials at Boston, we humbly 
bog that you would endeavor to have these magistrates 
changed, and others in their room ; begging also and be- 
seeching you, that you woidd be pleased to be here, if not 
all, some of you, at our trials, hoping thereby you may be 
the means of saving the shedding of our innocent blood. 
Desiring your prayers to the Lord in our behalf, wo rest, 

your poor alUicted servants, 

"John Puocteu [and otliers]." 



■ \ 



The bitterness of the prosecutors against Procter 
was so vehement, that they not only arrested, and tried 
to destroy, his wife and all his family above the age of 
infancy, in Salem, but all her relatives in Lynn, many 
of whom were thrown into prison. The helpless 
children were left destitute, and the house swept of 
its provisions by the sheriff. Procter's wife gave 
birth to a child, about a fortnight after his execution. 
This indicates to what alone she owed her life. 

John Procter had spoken so boldly against the pro- 
ceedings, and all who had part in them, that it was 
felt to be necessary to put him out of the way. He 
had denounced the entire company of the accusers, and 
their revenge demanded his sacrifice. They brought 
the whole power of their cunning and audacious arts 
to bear against him, and pursued him to the death 
with violence and rage. The manly and noble deport- 
ment exhibited in his dying hour seems to have made 
a deep impression on the minds of some, and gave 
an effectual blow to the delusion. The descendants 
of John Procter have always understood that his re- 
mains were recovered from the spot where the hang- 
man deposited them, and placed in his own grounds, 
where they rest to-day. 

No account has come to us of the deportment of 
George Jacobs, Sr., at his execution. As he was re- 
markable in life for the firmness of his mind, so he 
probably was in death. He had made his will before 
the delusion arose. It is dated Jan. 29, 1G92 ; and 
shows that he, like Procter, had a considerable estate. 


(Ma^ ^f^ • 

:^ll ^Uy 

a^nxi^ ^<A>^— ^ 

)>tOl[-«/ ^sMrJ^ 



/ &-^^. 

)^sUa^^ JV^u 







Bartholomew Gcdiicy is one of the attesting witnesses, 
and probably wrote the document. After his convic- 
tion, on the 12tli of August, he caused anotlier to be 
written, which, in its provisions, reflects light uj)on the 
state of mind produced by the condition in which he 
found himself. In his infirm old age, he had been con- 
demned to die for a crime of which he knew himself 
innocent, and which there is some reason to believe ho 
did not think any one capable of committing. He re- 
garded the whole thing as a wicked conspiracy and 
absurd fabrication. He had to end his long life upon a 
scaffold in a week from tliat day. His house was deso- 
lated, and his property sequestered. His only sen, 
charged witii the same crime, had eluded the sheriff, 
— leaving his family, in the hurry of his flight, uni)ro- 
vided for — and was an exile in foreign lands. The 
crazy wife of that son was in prison and in chains, 
waiting trial on the same charge ; her little children, 
including an unweaned infant, left in a deserted and 
destitute condition in the woods. The older children 
were scattered^ he knew not where, while one of them 
had completed the bitterness of his lot by becoming 
a confessor, upon boing arj-ost^d with her mother as a 
witch. This grand-daughter, Margaret, overwhelmed 
with fright and horror, bewildered by the statements 
of the accusers, and controlled probably by the ar- 
guments and arbitrary methods of address employed by 
her minister, Mr. Noyes, — whose peculiar function in 
these proceedings seems to have been to drive persons 
accused to make confession — had been betrayed into 

■wji i wM wnHawimn 




tliat position, and l)ccanie a confessor, and accuser of 
otliers. Under these circumstances, the old man made 
a will, giving to liis son George his estates, and secur- 
ing the succession of them to his male descendants. 
But, in the mean while, without his then knowing 
it, Margaret had recalled her confession, as appears 
from the following documents, which tell their own 
story : — 

" The Ilumhle Declaration of 3fargaret Jacobs unto the 
Honored Court noio sitting at Salem shoiveth, that, whereas 
your poor and humble declarant, beiu^ closely confined 
here in Salem jail for the crime of witchcraft, — which 
crime, thanks be to the Lord ! I am altogether ignorant of, 
as will appear at the great day of judgment, — may it please 
the honored Court, I was cried out upon by some of the 
possessed persons as afllictiug ihom ; whereupon I was 
brought to my examination ; which persons at the sight of 
me fell down, which did very much startle and affright mc. 
The Lord above knows I knew nothing in the least measure 
how or Avho afflicted them. They told me, Avithout doubt I 
did, or else they would not fall down at me ; they told me, if 
I would not confess, I should be put down into the dungeon, 
and would be hanged, but, if I woidd confess, I should 
have my life : the which did so affright me, with my own 
vile, wicked heart, to save my life, made me make the like 
confession I did, which confession, may it please the honored 
Court, is altogether false and untrue. The very first night 
after I had made confession, I was in such horror of con- 
science that I could not sleep, for fear the Devil should carry 
me away for telling such horrid lies. I was, may it please 
the honored Court, sworn to my confession, as I understand 


I fi 'i 




since ; but tlicn, at tliat time, was ignoraiit of it, not kuowin;]; 
what au oath did mean. The Lord, I hope, in whom I 
trust, out of the abundance of his mercy, will for<;ivc me 
my false forswearing myself. What I said was altogether 
false against my grandfather and Mr. Burroughs, which I 
did to save my life, and to have my liberty : but the Lord, 
charging it to my conscience, made me in so much horror, 
that I could not contain myself before I had denied my con- 
fession, which I did, though I saw nothing but death before 
me ; choosing rather deatli with a quiet conscience, than to 
live in such horror, which I could not suffer. Where, upon 
my denying my confession, I was committed to close prison, 
wliere I have enjoyed more felicity in spirit, a thousand 
times, than I did before in my enlargement. And now, 
may it please Your Honors, your declarant having in part 
given Your Honors a description of my condition, do leave it 
to Your Honors' pious and judicious discretions to tiike pity 
and compassion on my young and tender years, to act and 
do Avith me as the Lord above and Your Honors shall see 
good, having no friend but the Lord to plead my cause fur 
me ; not being guilty, in the least measure, of the crime of 
witchcraft, nor any other sin that deserves death from man. 
And your poor and humble declarant shall for ever pray, as 
she is bound in duty, for Your Honors' happiness in this life, 
and eternal felicity in the world to come. 80 prays Your 

Honors' declarant, 

Makgauet Jacobs." 

■i . 

Tlic following letter was Avrittcn by this same young 
person to her father. Let it l^c observed that her 
grandfather had been executed the day before, partly 
upon her false testimony. 





" From (he Dtni(jeoi7 in Salem Prison. 

"August 20, 1092. 
" IIoNOUi:i> Fatiikk, — After my liunible duty remem- 
bered to you, hoping in the Lord of your good liealth, as, 
blessed be God! I enjoy, tlioiigh in abundance of affliction, 
beins: close confined here in a loathsome dunjioon : the Lord 
look down in mercy upon me, not knowing how soon I shall 
bo put to death, by means of the afflicted persons ; my 
grandfather having fuiffercd already, and all liis estate 
seized for the king. The reason of my confinement is this : 
I having, through the magistrates' threatenings, and my own 
vile and wretclied heart, confessed several things contrary 
to my conscienc .ind knowledge, thougli to the wounding of 
my own soul ; (tiie Lord pardon me for it !) but, oh ! the ter- 
rors of a wounded conscience who can bear ? But, blessed 
be the Lord I he would not let me go on in my sins, but in 
mercy, I hope, to n.y soid, would not suffer me to keep it 
any longer : but I was forced to confess the truth of all be- 
fore the magistrates, who would not believe me ; but it is 
their pleasure to put me in here, and God knows how soon 
I shall be put to death. Dear father, let me beg your 
prayers to the Lord on my behalf, and send us a joyful and 
happy meeting in heaven. INIy mother, poor v.'oman, is very 
crazy, and remembers her kind love to you, and to uncle ; 
viz., D. A. So, leaving you to the protection of the Lord, 
I rest, your dutiful daughter, Margaret Jacobs." 

A temporary illness led to the postponement of her 
trial ; and, before the next sitting of the Court, the 
delusion had passed away. 

The " uncle D. A.," referred to, was Daniel An- 
drew, their nearest neighbor, who had escaped at the 




same time wltli her fiUlior. Slic calls him " uncle." 
lie was, it is probable, a brother of Jolni Andrew who 
liad married Ann Jacobs, sister of lier fiither. Words 
of relationship were then nscd with a wide sense. 

Margaret road the recantation of her confession 
before the Court, and was, as she says, forthwith 
ordered l)y them into a dungeon. She obtained per- 
mission to visit Ml-. Burroughs the day before his 
execution, acknowledged she had l)elied him, 
aiul implored his forgiveness. lie freely forgave, and 
prayed with her and for her. It is probable, that, 
at the same time, she obtained an interview with her 
grandfather for the same purpose. At any rate, the 
old man heard of her heroic conduct, and forthwith 
crowded into the space between two paragraplis in 
his will, in small letters closely written (the jailer 
probably being the amanuensis), a clause giving a leg- 
acy of " ten pounds to be paid in silver" to his grand- 
daughter, Margaret Jacobs. There is the usual dec- 
laration, that it " was inserted l)efore sealing and 
signing." This will having been made after con- 
viction and sentence to death, and having but two 
witnesses, one besides the jailer, was not allowed in 
Probate, but remains among the files of that Court. 
As a link in tlie foregoing story, it is an interesting 
relic. The legacy clause, although not operative, was 
no doubt of inexpresstble value to the feelings of Mar- 
garet : and the circumstance seems to have touched 
the heart even of the General Court, nearly twenty 
years afterwards ; for they took pains specifically to 

^ I 



j)rovi(.lo to liavc tlic samn sum paid to Margaret, out 
of the Province treasury. 

She was not tried at the time appointed, in conse- 
quence, it is stated, of " an impostliunie in tlie head," 
and finally csca})ed the fate to winch she chose to 
consign herself, rather than remain under a violated 
conscience. In judging of her, we cannot fail to make 
allowance for her " young and tender years," and to 
sympathize in the sufferings through which she passed. 
In making confession, and in accusing others, she had 
done that which filled her heart with horror, in the 
retrospect, so long as she lived. In recanting it, and 
giving her hody to the dungeon, and offering her life 
at the scaffold, she had secured tlie forgiveness of 
Mr. Burroughs and her aged grandfather, and de- 
serves our forgiveness and admiration. Evoy human 
heart nmst rejoice that this young gii-l was saved. 
She lived to be a worthy matron and the founder 
of a numerous and respectable family. 

George Jacobs, Sr., is the only one, among the vic- 
tims of the witchcraft prosecutions, the precise spot of 
whose burial is al)solutely ascertained. 

The tradition has descended through the family, that 
the body, after having been obtained at the place of 
execution, was strapped by a young grandson on the 
back of a horse, brought home to the farm, and buried 
beneath the shade of his own trees. Two sunken 
and weather-worn stones marked the spot. There tlic 
remains rested until 1804, when they were exhumed. 
They were enclosed again, and reverently redeposited 










i!i the sumc place. The skull was in a state of con- 
fsiderable preservation. An examination of the jaw- 
hones showed that he was a very old man at the time 
of his death, and had previously lost all his teeth. The 
len^jjth of some ])arts of the skjdetou showed that he was 
a very tall man. These circumstances corresponded 
with the evidence, which was that he was tall of stat- 
ure ; so infirm as to walk with two staffs; with lon^, 
flowing white hair. The only article found, except the 
hones, was a metallic pin, which might have heen used 
as a hreastpin, or to hold together his aged locks. It 
is an observable fact, that he rests in his own ground 
still. lie had lived for a great length of time on that 
spot ; and it remains in his family and in his name 
to this day, having come down by direct descent. It is 
a beautiful locality : the land descends with a gradual 
and smooth declivity to the bank of the river. It is 
not much more than a mile from the city of Salem, 
and in full view from the main road. 

John Willard appears to have been an honest and 
amiable person, an industrious farmer, having a com- 
fortable estate, with a wife and three young children. 
He was a grandson of Old Bray Wilkins ; whether by 
blood or marriage, I have not been able to ascertain. 
The indicavions are that he married a daughter of 
Thomas or Ilenry Wilkins, most probably the former, 
with both of whom he was a joint possessor of lands. 
He came from Groton ; and it is for local antiqua- 
ries to discover .vaether he was a nslativc of the Rev. 
Samuel Willard of Boston. 

VOL. II. 21 

If so, the fact would 



isIumI iniu'li liglil ii|)()n our story. Tiicro is but oiin 
jjicco of cviilciico among tlio pajicrs relating to his 
trial that deserves particular notice. It shows the 
liorrid character of tin; charges made hy the girls 
against prisoners at the bar, from their nature inca- 
pable of being refuted and which the prisoners knew 
to be false, but the Court, jury, and crowd implicitly 
believed. It also illustrates the completon(;ss of tlu; 
machinery got up by the "accusing girls" to give 
cfTect to their evidence. In addition to the evil gossip 
that could ))e scoured from all the countrv round, 
and to spectres of witches and ghosts of the (hnid, 
they brought into the scene angels and divine beings, 
and testified to what they were told by them. " The 
shining man," or the white man, was meant, in the fol- 
lowing de[)Osition, to be a spirit of this description : — 

" The Testimony of Susanna Sheldon, aged ciglitoeu 
years or tiiereabouts. — Testifieth aud saitli, that, the clay of 
the date hereof (Dtli of jMay, 1GU2), 1 saw at Nathaniel Ingcr- 
soU's house the aj)paritions of these four persons, — Williaiu 
Shaw's first wife, the Widow Cook, Goodmau Jones and 
his child; and among these came the apparition of John 
"Willard, to whom tliese four said, ' You have murdered us.' 
These four liaving said thus to AVillard, they turned as red 
as blood. And, turning about to look at me, they turned as 
pale as death. These four desired me to tell JMr. Ilathorne. 
Willard, hearing them, pulled out a knife, saying, if I did, 
he would cut my throat." 

The deponent goes on to say, that these several 
apparitions came before her on another occasion, and 
the same language and actions took place, and adds : — 





" There did nppoiu* to me ii .>«liiiiiii;; man, who siiid I 
slioiild go luid tfll wliiit I liiid licaid and soon Itt Mr. 
Hatlioriio. This Wilhird, hciii^' there present, toM me, if I 
did, he wonhl cut my tliroat. At this time and j)hu'e, this 
shining man tohl me, that if T did go to till this to Mr. 
Ilathorne, that I should be well, going and coming, but I 
should be allli(!tcd there. Then said I to the shining man, 
'Hunt Willard away, and I would believe what he said, that 
he might not choke me.' With that the shining nuin held 
up his hand, and Willard vanished away. About two hours 
after, the same appeared to nu; again, and the said Willard 
with them ; and 1 asked them where their wounds were, 
and they said there would come an angel fnmi lieaveu, anc' 
would show them. And forthwith the angel came. I 
askeil what the man's name was that appeared to me last, 
and the angel told his name was Southwiek. And the angel 
lifted up his winding-sheet, and out of his left side he pulled 
a pitchfork tine, and put it in again, and likewise he opened 
all the winding-sheets, and showed all their wounds. Ami 
the white man told me to tell ]\Ir. Ilathorne of if, and I 
told him to hunt Willard away, and I would ; and he held 
up his hand, and he vanished away." 

Ill the same deposition, tins girl testifies that "she 
saw this AVillard suckle the aj)i)ai'ltions of two black 
pigs on his l)reasts;" that Willard told her he had 
been a wltcli twenty years ; that she saw Willard 
and other wizards kneel in prayer '' to the black 
mail witli a long-crowned hat, and then they vanished 

Such was the kind of testimony which the Court 
received with awe-struck and bewildered credulity. 



and wliicli took away the lives of valuable and blame- 
less men. All we know of the manner of Willard's 
death is a passage from Brattle, who states that a deep 
impression was produced by the admirable deportment 
of the sufferers during the awful scenes l^efore and at 
their executions ; giving every evidence of conscious 
innocence and a Christian character and faith, on the 
part especially of " Procter and Willard, whose whole 
management of themselves from the jail to the gal- 
low??, and whilst at the gallows, was very affecting, and 
melting to the hearts of some considerable spectators 
vvliom I could mention to you : but they are executed, 
and so \ leave them." 

On the 9th of Septeml)er, the Court met again ; and 
Martha Corey^ Mary Uasty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudea- 
tor, Dorcas Hoar, and Mary Bradbury were tried and 
cor.deraned ; and, on the 17th, 3Iargaret Scott, Wilmot 
Reed^ tSannc' WardwcU, Mary Parker, Abigail Faulk- 
ner, R becca Eaiaes, Mary Lacy, Ann Foster, and 
Abigail IIol'l^s received the same sentence. Those in 
Italics were executed 8ept. 22, 1(392. Of the circum- 
stances in relation to them, in reference to their death 
and at the time of their execution, but little infor- 
mation has reached us. The following extract from 
Mr. Parris's church-records presents a striking pic- 
ture : — 

"11 September, Lord's Day. — Sister Martha Corey — 
taken into the church 27 April, 1G90 — was, after examina- 
tion upon suspicion of witchcraft, 27 March, 1092, com- 
mitted to prison for that fact, and was condemned to the 





gallows for the same yesterday ; and was this day iu public, 
by a general consent, voted to be excommunicated out of the 
church, and Lieutenant Nathaniel Putnam and the two dea- 
cons chosen to signify to her, with the pastor, tlie mind of 
tlie church licrein. Accordingly, this 14 September, 1G92, 
the three aforesaid brethren went with the pastor to her in 
Salem Prison ; whom we found very obdurate, justifying 
herself, and condemning all that had done any thing to her 
just discovery or condemnation. Whereupon, after a little 
discourse (for her imperiousness would not suffer much), 
and after prayer, — wliich she was willing to decline, — 
the dreadfid sentence of excommunication was pronounced 
against her." 

Calcf informs us, that " Martha Corey, protesting* 
her innocency, concluded her life with an eminent 
prayer upon the ladder." 

Nothing has reached us particularly relating to the 
manner of death of Alice or Mary Parker, Ann Pude- 
ator, Margaret Scott, or Wilmot Reed. They all as- 
serted their innocence ; and their deportment gave no 
ground for any unfavorable connncnt by their })ersecu- 
tors, who were on the watch to turn every act, word, 
or look of the sulTerers to their disparagement. Wil- 
mot Reed probably adhered to the unresisting demea- 
nor which marked her examination. It was all a 
mystery to her ; and to every question she answered, 
"I know nothing about it." Of Mary Easty it is 
grateful to have some account. Her own declarations 
in vindication of her innocence are fortunately pre- 
served ; and her noble record is complete in the fol- 




lowing documents. Tlic first appears to liavo been 
addressed to the Special Court, and was presented 
immediately before the trial of Mary Easty. No ex- 
planation lias come down to us why Sarali Cloyse was 
not then also brought to trial. Circumstances to 
which we liave no clew rescued her from the fate of 
her sisters. 


The IlumhJe Bequest of Mary Easty and Sarah Cloyse 
to the Honored Court hnmhly shoiceth, that, whereas Ave two 
sisters, Mary Easty and Sarah Cloyse, stand now before the 
honored Court charged with the suspicion of witclicraft, our 
humble request is — First, that, seeing Ave are neither able to 
plead our own cause, nor is counsel allowed to those in our 
condition, that you Avho are our judges AA'ould please to be 
of counsel to us, to direct us Avherein Ave may stand in need. 
Secondly, that, Avhereas Ave are not conscious to ourselves of 
any guilt in the least degree of that crime Avhereof Ave are 
now accused (in the presence of the living God Ave speak 
it, before Avhosc awful tribunal Ave knoAV AA'e shall ere long 
appear), nor of any other scandalous evil or miscarriage 
inconsistent Avith Christianity, those Avho have had the long- 
est and best kuoAvledge of us, being persons of good report, 
may be suffered to testify upon oath Avhat they know con- 
cerning each of us ; viz., Mr. Capen, the pastor, and those 
of the town and church of Topsfield, Avho are ready to say 
something Avhicli Ave hope may be looked upon as very con- 
siderable in this matter, Avith the seven children of one of 
us; viz., IMary Easty: and it may be produced of like na- 
ture iu reference to tlic Avife of Peter Cloyse, her sister. 
Thirdly, that the testimony of Avitdies, or such as are af- 
flicted as is supposed by Avitches, may not be improved to 



condemn ns without other legal evidence concurring. "We 
hope the honored Court and jury will be so tender of the 
lives of such as we arc, who have for many years lived 
under the iuiblemi,<hcd reputation of Christianity, as not to 
condenm them Avithont a fair and equal hearing of what 
may be said for us as well as against u's. And your poor 
suppliants siiall be bound alwa3's to pray, «&c." 

The following was presented by ^Mary Easly to the 
judges after she had received sentence of death. It 
would be hard to find, in all the records of human suf- 
fering and of Christian de})orlnient under tluMU, a 
more affecting production. It is a most beautiful 
specimen of strong good-sense, ])ious fortitude and 
faith, genuine dignity of soul, noble benevolence, and 
the true eloquence of a i)ure heart; and was evidently 
composed by her own hand. It may be said of her — 
and there can be no liighcr eulogium — that she felt 
for others more than for herself. 

" The HnmhJe FelUion of Mary Easfij tinto Jtis Excel- 
lency Sir Willicoii Phips^ and to (he Honored Ji/dr/e and 
Bench now sitting in Judicature in Salem^ and the Uercrend 
Jlfuniitfers, hnnihJy shotueth, that, M'hcreas your poor and 
humble petitioner, being condemned to die, do humbly beg 
of you to take it in your judicious and pious consideration, 
that your poor and humble petitioner, knowing my own 
innocency, blessed be the Lord for it ! and seeing plainly tlie 
■wiles and subtilty of my accusers by myself, cannot but 
judge charitably of others that are going the same way of 
myself, if the Lord steps not nu'ghtily iu. I was conliued a 
whole mouth upon the same account tljut I am condemned 



now for, and then cleared by tlic afflicted persons, as some 
of Your Honors know. And in two days' time I was cried 
out upon them, and have been confined, and now am con- 
demned to die. The Lord above knows my innocency then, 
and likewise does now, as at the great day will be known 
to men and angels. I petition to Your Honors not for my 
own life, for 1 know I must die, and ly a})pointed time is 
set ; but the Lord he knows it is thai, if it be possible, no 
more innocent blood may bo shed, which undoubtedly cannot 
be avoided in the way and course you go in. I question 
not but Your Honors do to the utmost of your power? in the 
discovery and detecting of witchcraft and witches, ana would 
not be guilty of innocent blood for tiie world. But, by my 
own iunoceucy, I know you are in the wrong way. The 
Lord in his infinite mercy direct you in this great work, if 
it be his blessed will that no more innocent blood be shed ! 
I would humbly beg of you, that Your Honors would be 
pleased to examine these afflicted persons strictly, and keep 
them apart some time, and likewise to try some of these 
confessing witches ; I being confident there is several of them 
has belied themselves and others^ as will appear, if not iu 
this world, I am sure in the world to come, whitiier 1 am now 
agoing. I question not but you will see an alteration of these 
things. They say myself and others having made a league 
■with the Devil, we cannot confess. I know, and the Lord 
knows, as will . . . appear, they belie me, and so I question 
not but they do others. The Lord above, who is the Searcher 
of all hearts, knows, as I shall answer it at the tribunal 
seat, that I know not the least thing of witchcraft ; therefore 
I cannot, I dare not, belie my own soul. I beg Your Honors 
not to deny this my humble petition from a poor, dying, 
innocent person. And I question not but the Lord will give 
a blessing to your endeavors." 






The parting interview of tliis iidmirablc woman with 
her husband, chiUh-en, and friends, as slie was about 
proceeding to the phicc of execution, is said to have 
been a most solemn, affecting, and truly sublime scene. 
Calef says that her farewell communications, on this 
occasion, were reported, by ])ersons who listened to 
them, to have been " as serious, religious, distinct, 
and affectionate fts could well 1)C expressed, drawing 
tears from tlie eyes of almost all present." 

Ann Pudeator had been formerly the wife of a per- 
son named Greenslitt, who left her with five children. 
Her subsequent husband, Jacob Pudeator, died in 
1G82, and by v;ill gave her his wliole estate, after the 
payment of legacies, of five pounds each, to her Green- 
slitt children, who appear to have been living in 1G92 
at Casco Bay. These provisions, as well as the ex- 
pressions used by Pudeator, indicate that he regarded 
her with affection and esteem. The following docu- 
ment is all that we know else of her character particu- 
larly, except that she was a kind neighbor, and ever 
prompt in offices of char'<y and sympatliy. 

" The Humhle Petition of Ann Pudeator unto the Honored 
Judge and Bench now sitting in Judicature in Sa/eni, hnnddy 
showeth, that, whereas your poor and humble petitioner, 
being condemned to die, and knowing in my own conscience, 
as I shall shortly answer it before the great God of heaven, 
who is the Searcher and Knower of all hearts, that the evi- 
dence of Juo. Best, Sr., and Jno. Best, Jr., and Samuel 
Pickworth, Avhich was given in against me in Court, v/ere 
all of them altogether false and untrue, and, besides the 



abovcsaid Jno. Best lialh been foruiorly wliipped anil like- 
wise is recorded for a liar. I would Ininibly beg of Your 
Honors to take it into your judicious and pious considera- 
tion, tliat my life may not be taken away l»y such false 
evidences and witnesses as these be ; likewise, the evidence 
given in against me by Sarah Churchill and Mary Warren 
I am altogether ignorant of, and know nothing in the least'e about it, nor nothing else concerning the crime 
of witchcraft, for which I am condemned to die, as will be 
known to men and angels at the great day of judgment. 
Begging and imploring your prayers at the Throne of Grace 
in my behalf, and your poor and humble petitioner shall for 
ever pray, as she is boimd in duty, for Your Honors' health 
and happiness in this life, and eternal felicity in the world 
to come." 

Abigail, the wife of Francis Faulkner, and daughter 
of the Rev. Francis Dane, of Andover, who was among 
those sentenced on the ITth of Septembcn-, had been 
examined, on the 11th of August, by Hithorne, Cor- 
win, and Captain John Iligginson, sitting as magis- 
trates. Upon the prisoner's being brought in, the 
afflicted fell down, and went into fits, as usual. The 
magistrates asked the prisoner what she had to say. 
She replied, " I know nothing of it." The girls then 
renewed their performances, declaring that her shape 
was at that moment torturing tliem. The magistrates 
asked her if she did not see their sufferings. She 
answered, " Yes ; but it is the Devil does it in my 
shape." Ann Putnam said that her spectre had afflict- 
ed her a few days before, pulling her off her horse. 


, i 

— ««»HKT5S 

V I 




Upon tlic touch of lior person, the sufTciMngs of tlic 
alllieted would cease for a time. The prisoner hekl 
a handkerchief in her lumd. The girls would screech 
out, declaring that, as she pressed the handkerchief, 
they were dreadfully squeezed. She threw the hand- 
kerchief on the tahle ; and tliey said, ''There are the 
shapes of Daniel Eanies and Captain Floyd [two i)er- 
sons then in prison on the charge of witchcraft] sitting 
on her handkercliief." ^faiy AVarren enacted the i)art 
of hcing dragged against lier will under the tal)le hy 
an invisible hand, from whose grasp she was at once 
released, upon the |)risoner's being made to touch her. 
Notwithstanding all this, she ])rotested lier innocence, 
and was remanded to jail. On the 80th, she was 
brought out again. In the mean while, six had been 
executed. The usual means were employed to l)reak 
her down ; but all that was gained was, that she 
owned she had expressed her indignation at the con- 
duct of the afllicted, and was much excited against 
them " for bringing lier kindred out, and she did 
wish them ill: and, her spirit being raised, she did 
pinch her hands togetlier, and she knew not hut 
that the Devil might take that advantage ; but it 
was the Devil, and not she, tliat alTlicted them." 
This was the only concession she wo ild make ; and 
they were puzzled to determine whether it was a con- 
fession, or not, — it having rather the ap})earance of 
clearing herself from all implication witli the Devil, 
and leaving him on their hands — at any rate, they con- 
cluded to regard it in the latter sense ; and she was 

-f r 

i "V 



duly convicted, and sentenced to death. Sir William 
riiips ordered a reprieve ; and, after she had been 
thirteen weeks in })rison, ho directed her to be dis- 
charged on the ground of insufficient evidence. This, 
I thiidi, is the only instance of a special pardon granted 
during the proceedings. 

Samuel Wardwell, like most of the accused belong- 
ing to Andovcr, had originally joined the crowd of 
the confessors ; but he was too much of a man to re- 
main in that company. He took back his confession, 
and met his death. While he was speaking to tlie 
people, at the gallowo, declaring his innocency, a puif 
of tobacco-smoke from the pipe of the executioner, 
as Calef informs us, " coming in his face, interrupted 
his discourse: those accusers said that the Devil did 
hinder him with smoke." The wicked creatures fol- 
lowed their victims to the last with their malignant 
outrages. The cart that carried the prisoners, on this 
occasion, to the hill, " was for oome time at a set : 
the afflicted and others said that the Devil hindered 
it," (fee. 

The route by which they were conveyed from the 
jail, which was at the north corner of Federal and 
St. Peter's Streets, to the gallows, must have been 
a cruelly painful and fatiguing one, particularly to in- 
firm and delicate persons, as many of them were. It 
was through St. Peter's, up the whole length of Essex, 
and thence probably along Boston Street, far towards 
Aborn Street ; for the hill could only be ascended from 
that direction. It must have been a rough and jolting 


i -V 







operation ; and it is not strange that the cart p:ot 
" set.'' It seems that the i)risoners were carried in 
a single cart. It was a Uirge one, })rovided probahly 
for the occasion ; and it is not unlikely that the reason 
why sonic who had been condemned were not exe- 
cuted, was that the cart could not hold them all at 
once. Thoy were executed, one in June, five iu July, 
five in August, and eight in Sojttember, with the in- 
tention, no doubt, by taking them in instalments, to 
extend the acts of the tragedy, from month to month, 

It was necessary for the safety of the accuser- and 
prosecutors to prevent a revulsion of the public mind, 
or even the least diminution of the popular violence 
against the supposed witches. As they all protested 
their innocenco to the moment of death, and exhibited 
a remarkably Christian dc})ortment throughout the 
dreadful scenes they were called to encounter from 
their arrest to their execution, there was reason to 
apprehend that the people would gradually be led to 
feel a sympathy for them, if not to entertain doubts of 
their guilt. To prevent this, and remove any impres- 
sions favorable to them that might be made l)y the 
conduct and declarations of the convicts, the })rosecu- 
tors were on the alert. After the prisoners had been 
swung off, on the 22d of September, " turning him to 
the bodies, ^fr. Noyes said, ' What a sad thing it is 
to see eight firebrands of hell hanging there ! ' " It 
was the last time his eyes were regaled by such a 
sight. There were no more executions on Witch Hill. 



Throe <lays l)oroi'o, a life luul l)ceii taken ])y tlic 
oITiULTs of the hiw in a maimer so extraonliiiary, and 
marlvcd by features so slioekinj^', that they find no par- 
allel in the annals of Ameriea, and will continue to 
arrest for ever the notice of mankind. The history 
and character of old (liles Corey liave been given in 
preceding parts of this work. The only pa})ers relat- 
ing to him, on file as having been sworn to before mo 
(Jrand Jury, are a few brief dejiositions. Jf he had 
Ijeen i)ut on trial, wc might have had more. Elizabeth 
Woodwell testifies, that '\she saw Ciles Corey at meet- 
ing at Salem on a lecture-day, since he has been in 
prison, llii or his apparition came in, and sat in the 
middlemost seat of the men's seats, by the post. This 
was the lecture-day before Bridget ]>ishop was hanged. 
And i saw him come out with the rest of the people." 
Mary Walcot, of course, swore to the same. And 
Marv Warren swore that Corev was hostile to her 
and afflicted her, because he thought she " caused her 
master (John Procter) to ask more for a piece of 
meadow than ho (Corey) was willing to give." She 
also charged him with " alllicting of her" by his spec- 
tre while he was in prison, and " described him in all 
his garments, both of hat, coat, and the color of them, 
— with a cord about his waist and a white cap on his 
head, and in chains." There is reason to believe, 
that, while in prison, he experienced great distress of 
mind. Although he had been a rough character in 
earlier life, and given occasion to much scandal by his 
disregard of public opinion, lie always exhibited symp- 






toms of a j^'cncrouH and sensitive nature. TTis foolisli 
conduct in becoming so passionately cngnged in tlio 
witclicraft proceedings, at tlieir earliest stage, as to bo 
incensed ngainst bis wife because sbe did not approve 
of or believe in tbeni, and wbicii led bini to ut(«!r sen- 
timents and expressions tbat bad been used against 
ber ; and so far yielding to tbe accusers as to allow 
tbem to get from bim tbe deposition, wbicb, wbile it 
failed to satisfy tbcir demands, it was sbameful for 
bim to bavc been persuaded to give, — all tbese tilings, 
wbicli after bis own api)rebension and imprisonment bo 
liad leisure to ponder upon, preyed on bis mind. Jlo 
saw tbe awful cbaracter of tbe delusion to wbicb bo 
bad lent bimself; tbat it bad brouglit bis })rayerful 
and excellent wife to tbe sentence of deatb, wbicb bad 
already been executed upon many otber devout and 
wortby persons. He knew tbat be was innocent of tlio 
crime of witclicraft, and was now satisfied tbat all 
otbers were. Besides bis own unfriendly course to- 
wards bis wife, two of bis four sons-in-law bad turned 
against ber. One (Crosby) bad testified, and anotber 
(Parker) bad allowed bis name to be used, as an ad- 
verse witness. In view of all tbis, Corey made up bis 
mind, determined on bis course, and stood to tbat 
determination. lie resolved to expiate bis own folly 
by a fate tbat would satisfy tbe demands of tbe stern- 
est criticism upon bis conduct ; i)roclaim bis abbor- 
rence of tbe prosecutions ; and attest tbe strengtb of 
his feelings towards those of his cbildren who had 
been false, and those who had been true, to his wife. 



lie caused to bo drawn up what has been called a will, 
although it is in reality a deed, and was duly recorded 
as sucii. Its i)hraseology is very strongly guarded, 
and made to give it clear, full, and certain efiect. It 
begins thus : " Know ye, &c., that I, Giles Corey, lying 
under great trouble and affliction, through which I am 
very weak in body, but in perfect memory, — knowing 
not how soon I may dej)art this life ; in consideration 
of which, and for the fatherly love and affection which 
I have and do bear unto my beloved son-in-law, Wil- 
liam Cleeves, of the town of Beverly, and to my son- 
in-law, John Moulton, of the town of Salem, as also for 
divers other good causes and considerations me at the 
present especially moving ; " and proceeds to convey 
and confirm all his property — " lands, meadow, hous- 
ing, cattle, stock, movables and immovables, money, 
apparel, . . . and all other the aforesaid premises, 
with their appurtenances " — to the said Cleeves and 
Moulton " for ever, freely and quietly, without any 
manner of challenge, claim, or demand of me the said 
Giles Corey, or of any other person or persons what- 
soever for me in my name, or by my cause, means, or 
procurement;" and, in the use of all the language 
applicable to that end, he warrants and binds him- 
self to defend the aforesaid conveyance and grant to 
Cleeves and Moulton, their heirs, executors, adminis- 
trators, and assigns for ever. The document was 
properly signed, scaled, and delivered in the presence 
of competent witnesses, whose several signatures are 
indorsed to that ctrect. It was duly acknowledged 



before " Tliomas WjkIc,. Justice of (lie Peace in Essex," 
and recorded fortiiwilli. Tiiis transactioii toulc place 
in t!ic jail at Jpswich. 

Ilis whole property heing thus securely conveyed to 
his faithful sons-in-law, and placed heyond the reach 
of his own weakness or chan<>c of pur{)Ose, Corey re- 
solved on a course that would surely try to the utmost 
the jiower of human endurance and firnniess. lie 
knew, that, if brought to trial, his death was certain. 
Ho did not know but that conviction and execution, 
through the attainder connected with it, might invali- 
date all attempts of his to convey his {)roperty. But 
it was certain, that, if he should not be brought to trial 
and conviction, his deed would stand, and nothing 
could break it, or defeat its effect. lie accordingly 
made up his mind not to be tried. Wlien called into 
court to answer to the indictment found by the Grand 
Jury, he did not plead " Guilty," or " Not guilty," but 
stood mute. How often he was called forth, we arc 
not informed ; but nothing could shake him. No 
power on earth could \inscal his lips. 

He knew that he could have no trial that would 
deserve the name. To have pleaded "Not guilty" 
would have made him, by his own act, a party to the 
proceeding, and have been, by implication, an assent 
to putting his case to the decision of a blind, mad- 
dened, and utterly perverted tribunal. He would not, 
by any act or utterance of his, leave his case with 
" the country " represented by a jury that embodied 
the passions of the deluded and infatuated multitude 


'■ $\M 







arouiitl him. lie knew that tlic gates of justice were 
closed, and that trutli had fled from the scene. He 
would have no part nor lot in the matter ; refused to 
recognize the court, made no response to its questions, 
and was dumb in its presence. He stands alone in 
the resolute defiance of his attitude. He knew the 
penalty of suffering and agony he would have to pay; 
but he freely and fearlessly encountered it. All that 
was needed to carry his point was an unconquerable 
firmness, and he had it. He rendered it impossible to 
bring him to trial ; and thereby, in spite of the power 
and wrath of the whole country and its autliorities, 
retained his right to dispose of his property ; and bore 
his testimony against the wickedness and folly of the 
hour in tones that reached the whole world, and will 
resound through all the ages. 

When Corey took this ground, the Court found itself 
in a position of no little difficulty, and was probably at 
a loss what to do. No information has come to us 
of the details of the proceedings. If the usages in 
England on such occasions were adopted, the prisoner 
was three times brought before the Court, and called 
to plead ; the conseciuences of persisting in standing 
mute being solemnly announced to him at each time. 
If he remained obdurate, the sentence of peine forte 
et dure was passed upon him ; and, remanded to 
prison, he was put into a low and dark apartment. 
He would there be laid on his back on the bare floor, 
naked for the most part. A weight of iron would be 
placed upon him, not quite enough to crush him. He 





would have no sustenance, save only, on the first day, 
three morsels of the worst bread ; and, on the second 
day, three draughts of standing water that should be 
nearest to the prison door : and, in this situation, such 
would be alternately his daily diet till he died, or till 
he answered. Tiie object of tiiis terrible punishment 
was to induce the prisoner to plead to tlic indictment ; 
upon doing which, he would be brouglit to trial in the 
ordinary way. The motive that led prisoners to stand 
mute in England is stated to have been, most gener- 
ally, to save their property from confiscation. The 
practice of putting weights upon them, and gradually 
increasing them, was to force them, by the slowly in- 
creasing torture, to yield. 

How far the English practice was imitated in the 
case of Corey will remain for ever among the dread 
secrets of his prison-house. The tradition is, that the 
last act in the tragedy was in an open field near the 
jail, somewhere between Howard-street Burial Ground 
and Brown Street. It is said that Corey urged the exe- 
cutioners to increase the weight which was crushing 
him, that he told them it was of no use to expect him 
to yield, that there could be but one way of ending 
the matter, and that they might as well pile on the 
rocks. Calef says, that, as his body yielded to the 
pressure, his tongue protruded from his mouth, and 
an official forced it back with his cane. Some persons 
now living remember a popular superstition, lingering 
in the minds of some of the more ignorant class, that 
Corey's ghost haunted the grounds where this barbar- 










r li 





Oils deed was done ; and tliat boys, as they sported in 
the vicinity, were in the habit of singing a ditty begin- 

ning thus : 

" ' More weiglit ! more weight ! ' 
Giles Corey he cried." 

For a person of more than eiglity-one years of age, 
this must be allowed to have been a marvellous exhi- 
bition of prowess ; illustrating, as strongly as any 
thing in human history, the power of a resolute will 
over the utmost pain and agony of body, and demon- 
strating that Giles Corey was a man of heroic nerve, 
and of a spirit tliat could not be subdued. 

It produced a deep effect, as it was feared that it 
would. Tlie bearing of all the sufferers at all the 
stages of the proceedings, and at their execution, had 
told m their favor ; but the course of Giles Corey pro- 
foundly affected the public mind. This must have 
been noticed by the managers of the prosecutions; and 
they felt that some extraordinary expedient was neces- 
sary to renew, and render more intense than ever, the 
general infatuation. From the very beginning, tliere 
had been great skill and adroitness in arranging the 
order of incidents, and supplying the requisite excite- 
ments at the right moments and the right points. 
Some persons — it can only be conjectured who — 
had, all along, been behind the scenes, giving direction 
and materials to the open actors. This unseen power 
was in the village ; and the movements it devised 
generally proceeded from Thomas Putnam's house, or 
the parsonage. It was on hand to meet the contingency 





created by Corey's having actually carried out to the 
last his resolution to meet a form of death that vould, 
if any thing could, cause a re-action in the public mind ; 
and tlie following stratagem was contrived to turn the 
manner of his death into the means of more than ever 
blinding and infatuating the people. It was the last 
and one of the most artful strokes of policy by the 
prosecutors. On the day after the death of Corey, and 
two days before the execution of his wife, Mary Easty, 
and the six others. Judge Sewall, then in Salem, re- 
ceived a letter from Thomas Putnam to this effect : — 

" Last night, my daughter Ann was grievously tormented 
by witches, threatening that she should be pressed to death 
before Giles Corey ; but, through the goodness of a gracious 
God, she had at last a little respite. Whereupon there 
appeared unto her (she said) a man in a winding-sheet, 
who told her that Giles Corey liad murdered him by pressing 
him to death with his feet ; but that the Devil there ap- 
peared unto him, and covenanted with him, and promised 
him that he should not be hanged. The apparition said God 
hardened his heart, that he should not hearken to the advice 
of the Court, and po die an easy death ; hecause, as it said, 
it must be done to him as he has done to me. The appari- 
tion also said that Giles Corey was carried to the Court for 
this, and that the jury had found the murder; and that her 
father knew the man, and the thing was done before she 
was born." 

Cotton Mather represented this vision, made to Ann 
Putnam, as proof positive of a divine communication 
to her, because, as he says, she could not have received 



I, f" 










her information from a human source, as everybody 
had forgotten the affair long ago ; and that slie never 
could have heard of it, happening, as it did, before she 
was born. Bringing up this old matter to meet the effect 
produced by Corey's death was indeed a skilful move ; 
and it answered its purpose probably to a considerable 
extent. The man whom Corey was thus charged with 
having r uirdered seventeen years before died in a man- 
ner causing some gossip at the time ; and a coroner's 
jury found that he had been " bruised to death, having 
dodders of blood about the heart." Bringing the 
affair back to the public mind, with the story of Ann 
Putnam's vision, was well calculated to meet and 
check any sympathy that might threaten to arise in 
favor of Corey. But the trick, howe.or ingenious, 
will not stand the test of scrutiny. Mather's state- 
ment that everybody had forgotten the trtusaction, 
and that Ann could only have known of it super- 
naturally, is wholly untenable ; for it was precisely 
one of those things that are never forgotten in a 
country village : it had always been kept alive as a 
part of the gossip of the neighborhood in connection 
with Corey ; and her own father, as is unwittingly 
acknowledged, knew the ma!'., and all a])out it. Of 
course, the girl had heard of it from him and otlicrs. 
The industry that had ransackod the traditions and 
collected the scandal of the v/hole country, far and 
near, for stories that were brought in evidence against 
all the prisoners, had not failed to pick up this choice 
bit against Corey. The only reason why it had not 





o i o 


before -been brought out was because lie bad not l)eeu 
on trial. The man who died with " cloddcrs of blood 
about his heart," seventeen years before, was an un- 
fortunate and worthless person, who had incurred 
punishment for his misconduct while a servant on 
Corey's farm, and afterwards at the hands of his own 
family : and he does not appear to have mended his 
morals upon passing into the spiritual world ; for the 
statement of his ghc *■- to Ann Putnam, that the jury 
had found Corey guilty of murder, and that the 
Court was hindered by some enchantment from pro- 
ceeding against him, is dis])roved by the record which 
is, — as has been mentioned in the First Part, vol. i. 
p. 185, — that the man was carried back to his house 
by Corey's wife, and died there some time after ; and 
tiie Court did no more than fine Corey for the i)unish- 
ment he had inflicted upon him while in his service, 
and which the evidence showed was repeated by his 
parents after his return to his own family. 

Thomas Putnam's letter and Ann's vision were the 
last things of the kind that occurred. The delusion 
was a})proaching its close, and the people were begin- 
ning to be restored to their senses. 

When it became known that Corey's resolution was 
likely to hold out, and that no torments or cruelties of 
any kind could subdue his firm and invincible spirit, 
Mr. Noyes hurried a special meeting of his church on 
a week-day, and had the satisfaction of dealing the 
same awful doom upon him as upon Rebecca Nurse. 
The entrv in the record of the First Church is as 
follows : — 







" Sept. 18, G. Corey was excommunicated : the cause 
of it was, that he heing accused and indicted for the sin of 
witchcraft, he refused to plead, and so incurred the sen- 
tence and penaUy of pain fort dure; being undoubtedly 
either guilty of the sin of Avitchcraft, or of throwing himself 
upon sudden and certain death, if he were otherwise inno- 

This attempt to introduce a form of argument into 
a church act of excommunication is a slig-ht but 
significant symptom of its having become felt that the 
breath of reason had begun to raise a ripple upon 
the surface of the public mind. It increased slowly 
but steadily to a gale that beat with severity upon Mr. 
Noyes and all his fellow-persecutors to their dying day. 

After the executions, on the 22d of September, the 
Court adjourned to meet some weeks subsequently ; 
and it was, no doubt, their expectation to continue 
from month to month to hold sessions, and supply, 
each time, new cart-loads of victims to the hangman. 
But a sudden collapse took place in the machinery, 
and they met no more. Tlie executive authority inter- 
vened, and their functions ceased. The curtain fell un- 
expectedly, and the tragedy ended. It is not known pre- 
cisely what caused this sudden change. It is probable, 
that a revolution had been going on some time in the 
public mind, which was kept for a while from notice, 
but at last became too apparent and too serious to be 
disregarded. It has generally been attributed to the 
fact, that tlie girls became over-confident, and struck 
too high. They had ventured, as we have seen, to cry 




out against the Rev. Samuel Willard, but were re- 
buked and silenced by the Court. Whoever began to 
waver in his confidence of the correctness of the pro- 
ceedings was in danger of being attacked by them ; 
and, as a general thing, when a person was " cried out 
upon," it may be taken as proof that he had spoken 
against them. Increase Matlier, the president of Har- 
vard College, called by Eliot " the father of the New- 
England clergy," was understood not to go so far as 
his son Cotton in sustaining the proceedings ; and a 
member of his family was accused. The wife of Sir 
William Phips sympathized with those who suffered 
prosecution, and is said to have written an order for 
the release of a prisoner from jail. She was cried out 
upon. It may have been noticed, that, though Jona- 
than Corwin sat with Hathorne as an examining 
magistrate and assistant, and signed the commitments 
of the prisoners, he never took an active part, but was 
a silent and passive agent in the scene. He was sub- 
sequently raised to the bench ; but there is reason 
to believe that his mind was not clear as to the cor- 
rectness of the proceedings. This probably became 
known to the accusing girls'; for they cried out re- 
peatedly against his wife's mother, a respectable and 
venerable lady in Boston. The accusers, in aiming 
at such characters, overestimated their power ; and 
the tide began to turn against them. But what 
finally broke the spell by which they had held the 
minds of the whole colony in bondage was their 
accusation, in October, of Mrs. Hale, the wife of the 


■ I- 



minister of the First Cimrcli in Beverly. Her genuine 
and distinguished virtues had won for lier a reputation, 
and secured in the hearts of the people a confidence, 
w^hich superstition itself could not sully nor shake. 
Mr. Hale had ])eGn active in all the previous proceed- 
ings hu<^ lie know the innocence and piety of his wife, 
and ]■• '< • forth hetween her and the storm he had 
helped j rais.o ■ although he had driven it on while 
others were its victims, he turned and resisted it when 
it burst in upon his own dwelling. The whole com- 
munity became convinced that the accusers in crying 
out upon Mrs. Hale, had perjured themselves, and 
from that moment their power was destroyed ; the 
awful delusion was dispelled, and a close put to one of 
the most tremendous tragedies in the history of real 
life. The wildest storm, perhaps, that ever raged in 
the moral world, became a calm ; the tide that had 
threatened to overwhelm every thing in its fury, sunk 
back to its peaceful bed. There are few, if any, other 
instances in history, of a revolution of opinion and 
feeling so sudden, so rapid, and so complete. The 
images and visions that had possessed the bewildered 
imaginations of the people flitted away, and left them 
standing in the sunshine of reason and their senses ; 
and they could have exclaimed, as they witnessed them 
passing off, in the language of the great master of the 
drama and of human nature, but that their rigid 
Puritan principles would not, it is presumed, have 
permitted them, even in that moment of rescue and 
deliverance, to quote Siiakspeare, — 


" The earth hath huhhlca, as the water has, 
And these are of tlieiii. Wliitlier are tliey vaiiislcil? 
Into the air; and what seemed corporal, melted 
As breath into the wind." 

Sir William Phips well knew tliat the pul)lic scuti- 
mcnt demanded a stop to 1)0 put to the prosecutions. 
Besides that many of the people had lost all faith in 
the grounds on which they had heen conducted, an 
influence from the higher orders of ;ciety hegan to 
make itself felt. Hutchinson says, ' A' nough many 
such had sulFered, yet there rem^iueu m j)rison a 
uumher of women of as reputable families as any in 
the towns Avhere they lived, and several ])crsons, of 
still superior rank, were hinted .t l)y the })retended 
bewitched, or by the confessing witches. Some had 
been publicly named. Dudley Bradstreet, a justice 
of peace, who had been appointed one of President 
Dudley's council, and who was son to the worthy old 
governor, then living, found it necessary to abscond. 
Having been remiss in prosecuting, he had been charged 
by some of the afflicted as a confederate. His brother, 
John Bradstreet, was forced to fly also." 

The termination of the proceedings was probaldy 
effectually secured hy the spirited course of certain 
parties in Andover, who, at the first moment of its 
appearing that the public sentiment was changing, 
commenced actions for slander against the accusers. 

The result of the whole matter was, that, while some 
of the judges, magistrates, and ministers persisted in 
their fanatical zeal, the great body of the people, high 
and low, were rescued from the delusion. 









Wliilc, ill the course of our story, we have witnessed 
some sliocking instances of the violation of tlie most 
sacred affections and ohligations of life, in husbands 
and wives, parents and children, testifying against 
each other, and exerting themselves for uiutual de- 
struction, we must not overlook the many instances 
in which fdial, parental, and fraternal fidelity and lovo 
have shone consj)icuously. It was dangerous to be- 
friend an accused person. Procter stood by his wife 
to protect her, and it cost him his life. Children 
protested against the treatment of their parents, and 
they were all thrown into prison. Daniel Andrew, 
a citizen of high standing, who had been deputy to 
the General Court, asserted, in the boldest language, 
his belief of Rebecca Nurse's innocence ; and he had 
to fly the country to save his life. Many devoted 
sons and daughters clung to their parents, visited 
them in prison in defiance of a bloodthirsty mob ; 
kept by their side on the way to execution ; expressed 
their love, sympathy, and reverence to the last ; and, 
by brave and perilous enterprise, got possession of 
their remains, and bore them back under the cover 
of midnight to their own thresholds, and to graves 
kept consecrated by their prayers and tears. One 
noble young man is said to have effected his mother's 
escape from the jail, and secreted her in the woods 
until after the delusion had passed away, provided food 
and clothing for her, erected a wigwam for her shel- 
ter, and surrounded her with every comfort her situ- 
ation would admit of. The poor creature must, 





however, have endured a great amount of suflering ; 
for one of her hirger limbs was fractured in the all 
hut desperate attempt to rescue her from the ])risoii- 

The Special Court being no longer suffered to meet, 
a permanent and regular tribunal, called the Superior 
Court of Judicature, was established, consisting of the 
Deputy-governor, William Stoughton, Chief-justice; and 
Thomas Danforth, John Richards, Wait Winthrop, 
and Samuel Sewall, associate justices. Tliey held a 
Court at Salem, in January, 1G93. Hutchinson says 
that, on this occasion, the Grand Jury found about 
fifty indictments. The following persons were brought 
to trial: Rebecca Jacobs, Margaret Jacobs, Sarah Ruck- 
ley, Job Tookey, Hannah Tyler, Candy, Mary Marston, 
Elizabeth Johnson, Abigail Rarkcr, Mary Tyler, Sarah 
Hawkes, Mary Wardwell, Mary Bridges, Hannah Post, 
Sarah Bridges, Mary Osgood, Mary Lacy, Jr., Sarah 
Wardwell, Elizabeth Johnson, Jr., and Mary Post. 
The three last were condemned, but not executed: all 
the rest were acquitted. Considering that the " spec- 
tral evidence " was wholly thrown out at these trials, 
the facts that the grand jury, under the advice of the 
Court, brought in so many indictments, and that three 
were actually convicted, are as discreditable to the 
regular Court as the convictions at the Special Court 
are to that body. It has been said that the Special 
Court had not an adequate representation of lawyers 
in its composition ; and the results of its proceedings 
have been ascribed to that circumstance. It has been 



held Up dispnrajiingly in coinparisou with the rogu- 
hir Court that succuotiud it. liut, in fact, tlic reguhir 
Court consisted of persons all of whom sat in the 
Special Court, with the cxecption of Danforth. IJut 
his proceedings in originating tiie arrests for witch- 
craft in the fall of lOUl, and his action when pre- 
siding at the preliminary examination of .John Procter, 
Elizaheth Procter, and Sarah Cloysc, at Salem, April 
11, 101)2, show that, so far as the permission of gross 
irregularities and the admission of absurd kinds of 
testimony are concerned, the regular Court gained 
nothing by his sitting with it, unless his views had 
been thoroughly changed in the mean time. The truth 
is, that the judges, magistrates, and legislature were 
as much to blame, in this whole business, as the 
ministers, and much more slow to come to their senses, 
and make amends for their wrong-doing. 

All the facts known to us, and all the statements 
that have come down to us, require us to believe, that 
none who confessed, and stood to their confession, 
were brought to trial. All who were condemned either 
maintained their innocence from the first, or, if per- 
suaded or overcome into a confession, voluntarily took 
it back and disowned it before trial. If this be so, 
then the name of every person condemned ought to 
be held in lasting honor, as preferring to die rather 
than lie, or stand to a lie. It required great strength 
of mind to take back a confession ; relinquish life and 
liberty ; go down into a dungeon, loaded with irons ; 
and from thence to ascend the gallows. It relievos 





tli(! mind t'» think, tlnit AUiiiail IFolilis, wicivcd iuid 
shocking as her conduct Imd l)ccn towiird.s Mr. Ihir- 
rouglis and others, came to herself, and ollL'red her 
life in atonement for licr sin. 

The (y^ourt continued tlie trials at successive sessions 
during the spring, all r(!sulting in acfjuittals, until in 
May, 1<)!>3, Sir William I'hips, hy proclamation, dis- 
charged all. Hutchinson says, " Such a jail-dolivcry 
has never heen known in New Kngland." The num- 
hcr then released is stated tt have heen one hundred 
and fifty. How many had heen apprehended, during 
the whole affair, we have no means of knowing. 
Twenty, counting Oiles Corey, had heen executed. 
Two at least, Ann Foster and Sarah Oshurn, had died 
in jail : it is not improhahle that otliers ])erished 
under the bodily and mental sullerings there. Wo 
find frequent expressions indicating that many died 
in prison. A considerable number of children, and 
some adults whose friends were al)lc to give the heavy 
bonds recpiired and had influence enough to secure 
the favor, had some time before been removed to 
private custody. Quite a considerable number had 
succeeded in breaking jail and eluding rcca})turc. 
Upon the whole, there must have been several hun- 
dreds committed. Even after ac(piittal by a jury, and 
the Governor's proclamation, none were set at liberty 
until they had paid all charges ; including board for 
the whole time of their im})risonmcnt, jailer's fees, 
and fees of Court of all kinds. The families of mr. y 
had become utterly impoverished. 

■fir 'I 

■ i 

1 ; 

V '?! 




The suiTurings of the prisoners and of their re- 
latives {'11(1 connections are ])erhaps Ijcst illustrated 
by preseiuing the substance of a few of the j)etitions 
for their release, found among the fdes. The friends of 
the pi.i'tios, in these cases, were not in a condition to 
give the bonds, and they proba1)ly remained in jail 
until the general discharge ; and how long after, be- 
fore the means could be raised to pay all dues, we 
cannot know.* 

* On tlie 19th of October, 1G92, Tliomas Hart, of Lynn, presented 
a menioriiil to the General Court, stating that his niotiier, Elizabeth 
Hart, liad tiien been in Boston jail for nearly six niontiis : "Though, 
in all tills time, notliing has appeared against her whereby to render 
her deserving of imprisonment or death, . . . being ancient, and not able 
to undergo tlie hardsliip that is inflicted from lying in misery, and 
death rather to be chosen than a life in her circumstances." He says, 
that his father is "ancient and decrepit, and wholly unable " to take 
any steps in her behalf; that he feels "obliged by all Christian duty, 
as becomes a child to parents," to lay Iier case before the General 
Court. " The petitioner having lived from his childhood under the 
same roof with his mother, he dare presume to affirm that he never 
saw nor knew any evil or sinful practice wherein there was any show 
of impiety nor witchcraft by her ; and, were it otherwise, he would 
not, for the world and all the enjoyments thereof, nourish or support 
any creature that lie knew engaged in tlie drudgery of Satan. It is 
well known to all the neighborhood, that the petitioner's mother has 
lived a sober and godly life, always ready to discharge the p.irt of a 
good Christian, and never deserving of afflictions from th.e hands 
of men for any thing of this luiture." He humbly prays "for the 
speedy enlargement of this person so much abused." I present two 
more petitions. They help to fill up the picture of the sufferings and 
hardships borne by individuals and families. 

" To the Ilonortd General Court now sitting in Boston, the Thimble Petition 
of Nicliolds, of Jiernlinq, slioweth, that whereas Sara Hist, wife of the 
petitioner, was taken into custody the fust day of June last, and, ever 





Margaret Jacobs luid to remain in jail after the 
Governor's proclamation had directed the release of 
all prisoners, because she could not \)iiy the fees and 
charges. Her grandfather had been executed, and 
all his furniture, stock, and moveable property seized 
by the marshal or sheriff. Jler father escaped the 
warrant by a sudden flight from his home under 
the cover of midnight, and was in exile " beyond the 
seas ; " her mother and herself taken at the time by 
the officers serving the warrants against them ; the 
younger children of the family, left without protection, 
had dispersed, and been thrown ui)oii the charity of 
neighbors ; the house had been stripped of its contents, 
left open, and deserted. She had not a shilling in 
the world, and knew not where to look for aid. She 


since lain in Boston jail for witchcraft^ though, in all this time, notiiiiif!; has 
been made appear for which she deserved imprisonment or death: the peti- 
tioner has been a husband to the said woman above twenty years, in all 
which time he never hiul reason to accuse lier Tor any im[)iety or witch- 
craft, but the contrary. She lived with him as a good, faithful, dutiful 
wife, and always had respect to the ordinances of God while her stiength 
remained; and the petitioner, on that consideration, is obliged in conscience 
and justice to use all lawful meaiis for the support and prese-.viti'in of her 
life; and it is deplorable, that, in old age, the poor decrepit woman should 
lie under confinetnent so long in a stinking jail, when her circumstances 
rather require a nurse to attend her. 

" May it, therefore, please Your Honors to take this matter into your 
prudent consideration, and direct some speedy methods whereby this an- 
cient decrepit person may not for ever lie in such misery, wiierein her life is 
made more afflictive to her than death." 

" The Humble Petition of Tliomas Barrett, of Chelmsford, in Neir Enrj- 
land, in behalf of his daur/liter Jfartlia Sparkes, wife of Ilennj Sjxtikcs, who 
is now a soldier in Their Afojesties^ Service at the Eastern Parts, and so hath 
been for a considerable time, htmbhj slwn-etli. That your petitioner's dangiiter 
hath lain in prison in Boston for tlie space of twelve months and five days, 

A If* 





was tokon back to prison, and remained there for some 
time, until a person named Gammon, ap))arcntly a 
stranger, liappcned to hear of her case, and, touched 
with compassion, raised tlie money recpiircd, and re- 
leased her. It was long l^eforc the affairs of the 
Jacobs' family were so far retrieved as to cnal>lc them 
to refund the money to the noble-hearted fisherman. 
How many others lingered in prison, or how long, we 
have no means of ascertaining. 

In reviewing the proceedings at the examinations 
and trials, it is impossible to avoid beiiig struck with 
the infatuation of the magistrates and judges. They 
acted througliout in the character and spirit of prose- 
cuting officers, put leading and ensnaring questions 
to the prisoners, adopted a browbeating deportment 
towards them, and pursued them with undisguised 
hostility. They assumed their guilt from the first, 

being committed by Thomas Danforth, Esq., the late deputy* -govern or, upon 
8U?i)icion of witclicraft; since wliich no evidence hath appeared against her 
in any sucii matter, neither hath any given bond to prosecute her, nor 
dotli any one at this day accuse Iier of any such thing, as your petitioner 
knows of. Tiiat your petitioner hath ever since kepi two of her cliildren ; 
the one of five years, the otlier of two years old, wliicli hath been a con- 
siderable trouble and charge to him in his poor and mean condition: besides, 
your petitioner hath a lame, ancient, and sick wife, who, for these five 
years and upwards past, hath been so afflicted as that she is altogether 
rendered uncapable of affording herself any help, which much augments 
his trouble. Your poor petitioner earnestly and humbly entreats Your 
Excellency and Honors to take his distressed condition into your consider- 
ation; and that you will please to order the releasement of his daughter 
from her confinement, whereby she may return home to her poor children 
to look after them, having nothing to pay the charge of her confinement. 

"And your petitioner, as in duty bound, shall ever pray. 
" Nov. 1, 1G;)2." 




and endeavored to force thciu to conless ; treating them 
as obstinate culprits because they would not. Every 
kind of irregularity was permitted. The niarslial was 
encouraged in })erpetual interference to prejudice the 
persons on trial, watcliing and rei)orting aloud to tlie 
Court every movement of their hands or heads or 
feet. Other persons were allowed to speak out, from 
the body of the crowd, whatever they chose to say ad- 
verse to the prisoner. Accusers were suffered to make 
private' communications to the magistrates and judges 
before or during the hearings. The presiding officers 
showed off their smartness in attcni{)ts to make the 
persons on trial before them appear at a disadvantage. 
In some instances, as in the case of Sarali Good, the 
magistrate endeavored to deceive the accused by rep- 
resenting falsely the testimony given by another. The 
people in and around the court-room were allowed to 
act the part of a noisy mob, by clamors and threaten- 
ing outcries ; and juries were overawed to l)ring in 
verdicts of conviction, and rebuked from the bench if 
they exercised their rightful prerogative without regard 
to the public passions. The chief-justice, in particular, 
appears to have been actuated by violent ])rcjudico 
against the prisoners, and to have conducted the trials, 
all along, with a spirit that bears the aspect of ani- 

There is one point of view in which he must be held 
responsil)le for the blood that was shed, and the in- 
famy that, in consecpience, attaches to the proceedings. 
It may well be contended, that not a co.uvictlon would 






have taken place, Init for a notion of his which he 
arbitrarily enforced as a rule of law. It was a part of 
the tiieory relating to witchcraft, that the Devil made 
us ■ of the spectres, or apparition?, of some perso'is to 
afdict others. From this conceded postulate, a division 
of opinion arose. Sojne maintained that the Devil 
could employ only the spectres of persons in league 
with liim ; others affirmed, that hr could send upon his 
^vil errands the spectres of innocent persons, without 
th(3ir consent or knowledge. The chief-justice held the 
former opinion, against the judgment of many others, 
arbitrarily established it as a rule of Coufr. and per- 
emptorily instructed juries to regard it us binding 
upon them in making their verdicts. The conse- 
quence was that a verdict of " Guilty" became inevi- 
tabU). But few at that time doubted the vi^racity of the 
" afflicted persons," which was thought to bo demon- 
strated to the very seiises by their fits and sulTerings, 
in the })resence of i- Court, jury, and all beholders. 
When they swore th . Jiey saw the shapes of Bridget 
Bishop, or Rebecca Nurse, or George Burroughs, 
choking or otlierwise torturing a person, the fact was 
regarded as beyond question. 

The })risoners took the ground, that the statements 
made by the witnesses, even if admitted, were not proof 
against them ; for the Devil might employ the spec- 
tres of innocent persons, or of whomsoever he chose, 
without the knowledge of the persons whose shapes 
were thus used by him. When Mrs. Ann Putnam 
swore tjiat she had seen the spectre of Rebecca Nurse 






afflicting various persons ; and thai tlio said spcctro 
acknowledged to lier, that "she had Ivilled nenjaniin 
Iloiilton, and John FiiHer, and Rebecca Slie[)ard," — 
the answer of tlie prisoner was, " I cannot help it: tlic 
Devil may appeal' in iiiy shaj)e." Wiieji the examining 
magistrate put the question to Husanna Martin, " How 
comes your aj)pearance to hurt these?" JNlartin re- 
plied, " 1 cannot tell. lie that apj)eared in Samuers 
sha{)e, a glorified saint, can appear in any one's shape." 
The Rev. John Wise, in his noble appeal in favor 
of John Procter, argued to the same ])oint. But the 
chief-justice was inexorably deaf to all reason ; com- 
pelled the jury to receive, as absolute law, that the 
Devil could not use the shape of an innocent j)erson ; 
and, as the " afflicted" swore that they saw the shaj)es 
of the prisoners actually engoged in the diiibolical 
work, there was no room left for question, and they 
must return a verdict of " Guilty." 

In this v/ay, innocent persons were slaughtered '- ■ ii 
dogma in the mind of an obstinate judge. Dogi-ias 
have perverted courts and governments in all ug-iii. 
A fabrication of fancy, an arbitrary verbal proposition, 
has been exalted above reason, and made to extinguish 
common sense. The world is full of such dogmas. 
They mislead the actions of men, and confound the 
page of history. " The king cannot die " is one of 
them. It is held as an axiom of political and con- 
stitutional truth. So an entire dynasty, crowded with 
a more glorious liie than any other, is struck from the 
annals of an empire. In the public records of Eng- 





1 ( 

land, the existence of the Commonwealth is ignored ; 
and tiie traces of its great events are erased from tlie 
archives of the government, wliicli, in all its formulas 
and official papers, proclaims a lie. A hunted fugitive, 
wandering in djsguise througli foreign lands, without 
a foot of ground on the globe tliat he could call his own, 
is declared in all public acts, parliamentary and judicial, 
and even by tliose assuming to utter the voice of 
history, to have actually reigned all the time. In our 
country and in our day, wo are perplexed, and our 
public men bewildered, by a similar dogma. The 
merest fabric of human contrivance, a particular form 
of political society, is impiously clothed with an 
essential attribute of God alone ; and ephemeral poli- 
ticians are announcing as an eternal law of Providence, 
that " a State cannot die." The mischiefs that result, 
in the management of human affairs, from cnthi'oning 
dogmas over reason, truth, and fact, are, as they ever 
have been, incalculable. 

Cliief-justicc Stoughton appears to have kept his 
mind cliained to his dogma to the last. It rendered 
him wholly incapable of opening his eyes to the light 
of truth. He held on to spectral evidence, and his 
corollary from it, when everybody else had aljan- 
doncO both. Uq would not admit that he, or any one 
coiicerued, had been in error. He never could bear to 
hear any persons express penitence or regret for the 
part they had taken in the proceedings. When the 
pu.tlic delusion had so far subsided that it l)ecame 
dilficult to procure the execution of a witch, he was 




disturbed and incensed to such a degree that he 
abandoned his seat on the bencli. During a session of 
the Court at Charlestown, in January, l()02-3, " word 
was brought in, that a reprieve was sent to Salem, and 
had prevented the execution of seven of tliosc tliat 
were there condemned, whicli so moved the chief 
judge that he said to tliis cfiect : ' We were in a way 
to have cleared tlie land of them ; who it is that 
obstructs the cause of justice, 1 know not: the Lord 
be mcrciiiil to the country I ' and so went off the 
bench, and came no more into that Court." 

I have spoken of the judges as appearing to be in- 
fatuated, not on account of the opinions they held on 
the subject of witchcraft, for these were the opinions 
of thei" age; nor from the peculiar doctrine their 
chief biiiorced upon them, for that was entertained by 
many, and, as a mere theory, was perhaps as logically 
deducible from the prevalent doctrines as any other. 
Their infatuation consisted in not having eyes to see, 
or ears to hear, evidences continually occurring of the 
untruthful arts and tricks of the afflicted children, of 
their cunning evasions, and, in some instances, palpable 
falsehoods. Then, further, there was solid and sub- 
stantial evidence before them that ought to have made 
them pause and consider, if not doubt and disbelieve. 
Wc find the following paper among the files : — 

" The Testimony ob^ John Putnasi, Sr., and Rebecca 
HIS Wife, saith that our son-in-law John Fuller, and our 
daughter Rebecca Shepard, did both of them die a most 
violent death (and died acting very strangely at the time of 



i (J 



tluMi' (leatli) ; fiirtlier saith, that wc did judge tlien that they 
both died of a inaliiL^iiant lever, and liad no siispieion of 
withcraft of any, neither can ^ve the prisoner at tlio 
bar of any such thing." 

AVlicii wc recall the testimony of Aim rutnam tlio 
mother, and find that the alllictod generally cliarged 
the death of the above-named persons ii})on tlie shape 
of Rebecca Nurse, we })erceive how absolutely Captain 
John Putnam and his wife discredit tlieir testimony. 
The opinion of the father and mother of Fuller and 
Shepard ought to have had weiglit with the Court. 
Tiicy were persons of the highest standing, and of 
recognized intelligence and judgment. They were old 
church-members, and eminently orthodox in all their 
sentimei>ts. They were the heads of a great Aimily. 
He had represented the town in the General Court 
the year before. No man in this part of the country 
Avas more noted for strong good sense than Captain 
John Putnam. This deposition is honoi'able to their 
memory, and clears them from all esponsibility for 
the extent to which the afflicted persons were allowed 
to sway the judgment of the Court. Taken in con- 
nection with the paper signed by so largo a portion 
of the best people of the village, in behalf of Rebecca 
Nurse, it proves that the blame for the shocking pro- 
ceedings in the witchcraft prosecutions cannot be laid 
upon the local })opulation, but rests wholly upon the 
Court and the public authorities. 

The Special Court that condemned the persons 
charged with witchcraft in 1(392 is justly open to 













censure for the absence of all (liscriniinatlon of evi- 
dence, and for a i)reju(loiHeMt of the cases submittiMl 
to them. In view of the then existing law and the 
})ractice in the mother-country under it, they ou<>ht 
to have the benefit of the admission that they did, in 
other respects than those mentioned, no more and no 
worse than Avas to be expected. And Cotton Mather, 
in the " Magnalla," vindicate'^ them on this ground : — 

" They consulted tiic preciMlcnts of former timc«<, juid 
precepts laid down Ijy learned writers about witchcraft ; as, 
Keeble on the Common Law, chap. ' Conjuration' (an author 
approved by the twelve jud<i;e3 of our nation) : also. Sir 
Mattliew Ihile's Trials of Witches, printed anno 1(J82; 
Glanvill's Collection of Sundry Trials in England and Ire- 
land in the years lGu8, 'Gl, '03, '04, and '81 ; Bernard's 
Guide to Jury-men ; Baxter's and R. B., their histories about 
Witches, and their Discoveries ; Cotton Mather's IMemo- 
rable Providences relating to Witchcraft, printed 1G85." 

So far as the medical profession at the time is 
concerned, it must be admitted that they bear a full 
share of responsibility for the proceedings. They gave 
countenance and currency to the idea of witchcraft 
in the public mind, and were very generally in the 
habit, when a patient did not do well under their pre- 
scriptions, of getting rid of all difliculty by saying 
that "an evil hand" was upon him. Their o})inion 
to this effect is cited throughout, and appears in a 
large number of the documents. There were coroners' 
juries in cases where it was suspected that a person 

i ^^! 

i ■> ;ii 




died of witchcmft. It is much to be regretted that 
none of their verdicts have been preserved. Drawn 
lip by an attending " chirurgeon," they wonhl illus- 
trate the state oC professional science at that day, by 
informing us of the marks, indications, and conditions 
of the bodily organization by which the traces of the 
Devil's hand were l)elieved to l)e discoverable. All 
we know is that, in j)articnlar cases, as that of Bray 
Wilkins's grandson Daniel, the jury found decisive 
proof that he had died by " an evil hand." 

It is not to be denied or concealed, that the clergy 
were instrumental in bringing on the witchcraft delu- 
sion in l()lt2. As the supposed agents of the mischief 
belonged to the supernatural and spiritual world, which 
has ever been considered their })eculiar province, it was 
thought that the advice and co-operation of ministers 
were particularly appropriate and necessary. Oj)po- 
sition to prevailing vices and attempts to reform society 
were considered at that time in the light of a conflict 
with Satan himself; and he was thought to be the ablest 
minister who had the greatest power over the invisible 
enemy, and could most easily and clfectively avert his 
blows, and counteract his baleful influence. This 
gave the clergy the front in the battle against the 
hosts of Belial. They were proud of the position, 
and were stimulated to distinguish themselves in the 
conflict. Cotton Mather represents that ministers 
were honored by the special hostility of the great 
enemy of souls, " more dogged by the Devil than 
any other men," just as, according to his philosophy, 



tlic li^litiiiii^ struck tlic steeples of cliurclies more 
rre(|iieiitly tliuii otlier buildings because tbe Piiiiec 
of the Power of the Air i);iitieuliiily bated tbe places 
where the sound of tbe gospel was beard. There were, 
moreover, it is to Ite learcMl, ministers whose ambition 
to aequii-e inlluence and power bad been allowed to 
become a ruling principle, and who favored tbe de- 
lusion because thereby their object could be most 
surely achieved by carrying the people to the great- 
est extremes of credulity, su})erslition, and fanatical 

But justice rcijuires it to be said that the ministers, 
as a general thing, did not take the lead after the 
proceedings Inid assumed their most violent aspect, 
and tbe disastrous etTects been fully brought to view. 
It may be said, on tbe contrary, that they took the 
lead, as a class, in checking the delusion, and rescuing 
tbe public mind from its control. Prior to the time 
when they were called upon to give their advice to the 
govcrmnent, they probably followed Cotton Mather : 
after that, they seemed to have freed themselves gen- 
erally from bis influence. The names of Dane and 
Barnard of Andover, Higginson of Salem, Cheevcr 
of Marblehead, Hubbard and Wise of Ipswich, Payson 
and Phillips of Rowley, AUin of Salisbury, and Capen 
of Topsfield, aj»i)ear in behalf of pei'sons accused. 
To come forward in their defence shows courage, and 
proves that their influence was in the right direction, 
even while the proceedings were at their height. Mr. 
Hale, of Beverly, abandoned the prosecutions, and ex- 

: m 

. i I 



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■ 2.2 


L25 ||U 1.6 







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(716) 873-4503 


J' ^>^ 







pressed his disapprobation of tliem, before tlie govern- 
ment or the Court relaxed the vigor of their opera- 
tions, as is sufficiently proved by the fact that tlie 
" afflicted children " cried out against his wife. AVil- 
lard, and James Allen, and Moody, and John Bailey, 
and even Increase Mather, of Boston, openly discoun- 
tenanced the course things were taking. The latter 
circulated a letter from his London corrcsi)ondent, a 
person whose opinion was entitled to weight, con- 
demning in the strongest terms the doctrine of the 
chief-justice, as follows : " All that I si)eak with 
much wonder that any man, much less a man of such 
abilities, learning, and experience as Mr. Stoughton, 
should take up a persuasion that the Devil cannot 
assume the likeness of an innocent, to afflict another 
person. In my opinion, it is a persuasion utterly 
destitute of any solid reason to render it so much 
as probable." The ministers may have been among 
the first to bring on the delusion ; but the foregoing 
facts prove, that, as a profession, they were the first 
to attempt to check and discountenance the prose- 
cutions. While we are required, in all fairness, to 
give this credit to the clergy in general, it would be 
false to the obligations of histcri .;al truth and justice 
to attempt to palliate the conduct of some of them. 
Whoever considers all that Mr. Parris, according to 
his own account, said and did, cannot but shrink 
from the necessity of passing judgment upon him, 
and find relief in leaving him to that tribunal wuich 
alone can measure the extent of human responsibility, 



and sound the doj)tlis of the licart. Lawson throw 
into tlic confltif^Tation all the combustible materials 
his clo(|uence and talents, heated, it is to be feared, 
by resentment, could contribute. Dr. JJentlev, in his 
"Description and History of Salem" (^fass. Hist. 
Coll., 1st series, vol. vi.) says, " Mr. Xoyes came out 
and ])ublicly confessed his error, never concealed a 
circumstance, never excused himself; visited, loved, 
blessed, the survivors whom he had injured; asked 
forgiveness always, and consecrated the residue of 
his life to bless mankind." It is to be hoped that 
the statement is correct. There were several points 
of agreement between Noyes and Bentley. ]]oth were 
men of ability and learning-. Like Bentley, Noyes 
lived and died a bachelor ; and, like him, was a man of 
lively and active temperament, and, in the general tenor 
of his life, benevolent and disinterested. Perhaps con- 
geniality in these points led Bentley to make the state- 
ment, just quoted, a little too strong, lie wrote more 
than a century after the witchcraft proceedings ; just 
at that point when tradition had become inflated by 
all manner of current talk, of fable mixed with fact, 
before the correcting aiul expunging hand of a severe 
scrutiny of records and documents had commenced 
its work. The drag-net of time had drawn along 
with it every thing that anybody had said ; but the 
process of sifting and discrimination had not begun. 
His kindly and ingenuous nature led him to believe, 
and prompted him to write down, all that was ami- 
able, and pleasing to a mind like his. So far as the 



records and documents give us information, there is 
reason to apprelicnd, that Mr. Noyes, like Stoughton, 
another old bachelor, never recovered his mind from 
the frame of feeling or conviction in ^vhich it was 
during the proceedings. His name is not found, as 
are those of other ministers, to any petitions, memo- 
rials or certificates, in favor of the suirerers during 
the trials, or of reparation to their memories or to the 
feelings of their friends. He does not appear to have 
taken any part in arresting the delusion or rectifying 
the public mind. 

Of Cotton Mather, more is required to be said. He 
aspired to be considered the leading champion of the 
Church, and the most successful combatant against the 
Satanic powers, lie seems to have longed for an op- 
portunity to signalize himself in this particular kind of 
warfare ; seized upon every occurrence that Avould admit 
of such a coloring to represent it as tlie result of dia- 
bolical agency ; circulated in his numerous publications 
as many tales of witchcraft as he could collect through- 
out New and Old England, and repeatedly endeavored 
to get up cases of the kind in Boston. There is 
some ground for suspicion that he Avas instruineiital 
in originating the fanaticism in Salem ; at any rate, he 
took a leading part in fomenting it. And while there 
is evidence that he endeavored, after the delusion sub- 
sided, to escape the disgrace of having approved of the 
proceedings, and pretended to have been in some 
measure opposed to them, it can be too clearly shown 
thai he was secretly and cunningly endeavoring to 



renew them during the next year in his own parish in 

How blind is man to the future ! The state of 
things wliich Cotton Mather labored to bring almut, in 
order tliat he miglit increase his own influence over an 
infatuated people, by being regarded by them as mighty 

* I know notliing more artful and Jesuitical than his attempts to 
avoid the reproach of having heen active ir- carrying on the delusion 
in Salem and elsewhere, and, at the same time, to keep up such a 
degree of credulity and superstition in the minds of the people as to 
render it easy to plunge them into it again at the first favorable 
moment. In the following passages, he endeavors to escape the odium 
that had been connected with the prosecutions : — 

" The world knows how many pages I have composed and pub- 
lished, and particular gentlemen in the government know liow many 
letters 1 have written, to prevent the excessive credit of spectral ac- 

" In short, I do humbly but freely affirm it, that there is not a 
man living in this world, who has been more desirous than tlie poor 
man I to shelter my neighbors from the incoi.veniences of spectral 
outcries : yea, I .'m very jealous I have done so much that way as to 
sin in what I have done ; such have been the cowardice and fearful- 
ness whereunto my regard unto the dissatisfaction of other people liaa 
precipitated me. I know a man in the world, who has thought he has 
been able to convict some such witches as ought to die ; but his re- 
spect unto the public peace has caused him rather to try whether he 
could not renew them by repentance." 

In his Life of Sir William P'-ips, he endeavors to take the credit 
to himself of having doubted the propriety of the proceedings while 
they were in progress. This work was published without his name, 
in order that he might commend himself with more freedom. The 
advice given by the ministers of Boston and the vicinity to the gov- 
ernment has been spoken of. Cotton Mather frequently took occasion 
to applaud and magnify the merit of this production. In one of his 
writings, he speaks of " the gracious words " it contained. In his Life 
of Phips, he thus modestly takes the credit of its authorship to him- 



to cast out luid vaiKjiiisli evil spirits, and as able to 
hold Satan liinisolf in chains hy his prayers and Ins 
piety, brouglit him at length into such disgrace that 
his power was hroivcn down, and he became tlic ol)ject 
of public ridicule and oj)en insult. And the excite- 
ment that had been produced lor the purpose of 

self: it was "drawn up, at tlieir (the ministers') desire, by Mr. Matlier 
the yotintior, as I liave been iiitornied." And, in order the more 
eflTectunlly to give tiie impression tliat he was ratlier ojiposed to the 
proceedings, lie quotes those portions of the paper wiiieh recommended 
caution and cireumsi^'ction, leaving out those other passages in which 
it was vehemently urged to carry the proceedings on " speedily and 

This single circumstance is decisive of the disingcnuity of Dr. 
Mather. As it was the purpose of the government, in requesting the 
advice of the ministers, to ascertain their opinion of the expediency 
of continuing the prosecutions, it was a complete and deliberate per- 
version and falsification of their answer to omit the passages which 
encouraged the proceedings, and to record those only which recom- 
mended caution and circumspection. The object of Mather in sup- 
pressing the important parts of the document has, however, in some 
measure been answered. As the " Magnalia," within whicli his Life of 
I'hips is embraced, is the usual and popular source of information and 
reference respecting tho topics of which it treats, the opinion has pre- 
vailed, that the Boston ministers, especially " Mr. Mather the younger," 
endeavored to prevent the transactions connected with the trial and 
execution of the supposed witches. Unfortunately, however, for the 
reputation of Cotton Matiier, Hutchinson has preserved the address of 
the ministers entire : and it appears that they approved, applauded, and 
stimulated the prosecutions ; and that the people of 8aleni and the 
surrounding country were the victims of a delusion, the principal 
promoters of which have, to a great degree, been sheltered from ro- 
proacii by the dishonest artifice, which has now been exposed. 

But, like (Hher ambitious and grasping politicans, he was anxious to 
have the support of all parties at the same time. After making court 
to those who were dissatisfied with the prosecutions, he thus commends 
himself to all who approved of them : — 


restoring and strongtlicniiig the influonce of the clerical 
and spiritual leaders resulted in ctTects which reduced 
that influence to a still lower point. The intiinate 
coniiection of Dr. Mather and otiier proniin<'nt ministers 
with the witchcraft delusion l)i'ought a reproach upon 
the clergy from which they have not yet recovered. 

" And why, after all my imweariccl cares and pains to rescue the 
miserahle from the lions and bears of hell which had seized them, 
and after all my studies to disappoint the devils in Uicir designs to 
confound my neighborhood, must I be <lrivcn to the necessity of an 
apology? Truly, the hard rejn-esentations wherewith some ill n)en 
liavc reviled my conduct, and the countenance which otiier men have 
given to these representations, oblijie me to give mankind some 
account of my behavior. No Christian can (I say none but evil- 
workers can) criminate my visiting sucli of my poor flock as have at 
any time fallen under the terrible and sensible molestations of evil 
angels. Let their afflicti(ms have been what they will, I could not have 
answered it unto my glorious Lord, if I had withheld my just comforts 
and counsels from them ; and, if I have also, with some exactness, 
observed the methods of the invisible world, when they have thus be- 
come observable, I have been but a servant of mankind in doing so : 
yea, no less a person than the venerable Baxter lias more than once or 
twice, in the most public manner, invited mankind to thank me for 
that service." 

In other passages, lie thus continues to stimulate and encourage the 
advocates of the prosecutions : — 

" Wherefore, instead of all apish shouts and jeers at histories 
which have such undoubted confirmation as that no man that has 
breeding enough to regard the common laws of human society will 
ofller to doubt of them, it becomes us rather to adore the goodness of 
God, who does not permit such things every day to befall us all, as he 
sometimes did permit to befall some few of our miserable neighbors. 

" And it is a very glorious thing that I have now to mention : The 
devils have, with most horrid operations, broke in upon our neigh- 
borhood i and God has at such a rate overruled all the fury and malice 
of those devils, that all the afflicted have not only been delivered, but, 
VOL. II. 24 



Ill addition to tlic designing oxcrtions of ambitious 
ecclesiastics, and the benevolent and praiseworthy 
efforts of those whose only aim was to promote a real 
and thorough reformation of religion, all the passions 
of our nature stood ready to tlirow their concentrated 
energy into the excitement (as thoy arc sure to do, 
whatever may be its character), so soon f»s it became 
sufficiently strong to encourage their action. 

The whole force of popular superstition, all the 

I liope, also savingly brought liome unto God ; and the reputation of 
no one good person in the world has been damaged, but, instead 
thereof, the souls of man v, especially of the rising generation, have 
been thereby awakened unto some acquaintance with religion. Our 
young people, who belonged unto the praying-meetings, of both sexes, 
apart, would ortiinarily spend whole nights, by whole weeks together, 
in prayers and psalms upon these occasions, in which devotions the 
devils could get nothing but, like fools, a scourge for their own 
backs ; and some scores of other young people, who were &fraj igers to 
real piety, wore now struck with the lively demonstrations o'" hell 
evidently set forth before their eyes, when they saw persons jruelly 
frighted, wounded and starved by devils, and scalded with burning 
brimstone, and yet so preserved in this tortured state, as that, at the 
end of one month's wretchedness, they were as able still to undergo 
another ; so that, of these also, it might now be said, * Behold, they 
pray.' In the whole, the Devil got just nothing, but God got praises, 
Christ got subjects, the Holy Spirit got temples, the church got 
additions, and the souls of men got everlasting benefits. I am not so 
vain as to say that any wisdom or virtue of mine did contribute unto 
this good order of things ; but I am so just as to say, I did not hinder 
this good." 

I cannot, indeed, resist the conviction, that, notwithstanding all his 
attempts to appear dissatisfied, after they had become unpopular, with 
the occurrences in the Salem trials, ho looked upon them with secret 
pleasure, and would have been glad to have had them repeated in 




fanatical propensities of the ignorant and deluded mul- 
titude, united with the hest feelings of our nature to 
heighten the fury of the storm. Piety was indignant 
at the supposed rel)cllion against the sovereignty of 
God, and was roused to an extreme of agitation and 
apprehension in witnessing such a daring and fierce 
assault by the Devil and his adherents upon the 
churches and the cause of the gospel. Virtue was 
shocked at the tremendous guilt of those who were 
believed to have entered the diabolical confederacy ; 
while public order and security stood aghast, amidst 
the invisible, the supernatural, the infernal, and 
apparently the irresistible attacks that were making 
upon the foundations of society. In baleful com- 
bination with principles, good in themselves, thus 
urging the passions into wild operation, there were 
all the wicked and violent affections to which human- 
ity is liable. Theological bitterness, personal animosi- 
ties, local controversies, private feuds, long-cherished 
grudges, and professional jealousies, rushed forward, 
and raised thei): discordant voices, to swell the horrible 
din ; credulity rose with its monstrous and ever-ex- 
panding form, on the ruins of truth, reason, and the 
senses ; malignity and cruelty rode triumphant through 
the storm, by whose fury every mild and gentle senti- 
ment had been shipwrecked ; and revenge, smiling in 
the midst of the tempest, welcomed its desolating 
wrath as it dashed the mangled objects of its hate 
along the shore. 

The treatment of the prisoners, by the administrar 



tivc Qiid subordinate officers in charge of tlicm, tlioro 
is reason to aijprehcnd, was more than ordinarily 
harsh and unfeeling. The fate of Willard prevented 
expressions of kindness towards them. The crime 
of which they were accused put them outside of the 
pale of human charities. All who l)elieved them guilty 
looked upon them, not only with horror, but hate. To 
have deliberately abandoned God and heaven, the 
salvation of Christ and the brotherhood of man, was 
regarded as detestable, execrable, and utterly and for 
ever damnable. This was the universal feeling at 
the time wheu the fanaticism was at its height ; or, 
if there were any dissenters, they dared not show 
themselves. What the poor innocent sufferers ex- 
perienced of cruelty, wrong, and outrage from this 
cause, it is impossible for words to tell. It left them 
in prison to neglect, ignominious ill-treatment, and 
abusive language from the menials having charge of 
them ; it made their trials a brutal mockery ; it 
made the pathway to the gallows a series of insults 
from an exasperated mob. If dear relatives or faith- 
ful friends kept near them, they did it at the peril 
of their liv^s, and were forbidden to utter the senti- 
ments with which their hearts were breaking. There 
"was no sympathy for those who died, or for those 
who mourned. 

It may seem strange tc us, at this distance of time, 
and with the intelligence prevalent in this age, that 
persons of such known, established, and eminent repu- 
tation as many of those whose cases have been par- 



ticularly noticed, could possibly have been iinn^inod 
guilty of the cvxma imputed to tiicui. Tiu; (piestiou 
arises iii every mind, Wiiy did not tlieir ehiiraeters 
wave them from conviction, and even from suspicion ? 
The answer is to be found in tbe peculiar views (ben 
entertained of tbe power and agency of Satan. It was 
believed tbat it v/ould bo one of tbe signs of bis coming 
to destroy tbe Cburcb of Cbrist, tbat some of tbo 
"elect" would be seduced into bis service, — tbat bo 
would drag captive in bis cbains, and pervert into 
instruments to furtbcr bis wick'nl cause, many wbo 
stood among tbe bigbest in tbe confidence of Cbris- 
tians. Tbis belief made tbem more vcbemcnt in tbeir 
proceedings against ministers, cburcb-members, and 
persons of good repute, wbo were proved, by tbe over- 
wbelming evidence of tbe " aflllicted cbildren " and 
tbe confessing witcbcs, to bave made a compact witb 
tbe Devil. Tbere is reason to fear tliat Mr. Bur- 
rougbs, and all accused persons of tbe bigbest repu- 
tation before for piety and wortb, especially all wbo 
bad been professors of religion and accredited cburcb- 
members, suffered more tban otbers from tbe severity 
of tbe judges and executive officers of tbe law, and 
from tbe rage and batred of tbe people. It was in- 
deed necessary, in order to keep up tbe delusion 
and maintain tbe autbority of tbe prosecutions, to 
break down tl^e influence of tbose among tbe accused 
and tbe sufferers wbo bad stood tbe bigbest, and bore 
tbemselves tbe best tbrougli tbe fiery ordeal of tbo 
examinations, trials, and executions. 



It is indeed a very romarkalde fact, wlii{di liaa 
justly been cidurged upon by Heveral who have Imd 
tlicir attention tnrned to tiiis subject, that, of tho 
wliole nunihcr that HulTcn'd, none, in the final scene, 
lost their fortitude for a moment. Many were (juito 
aged ; a majority, women, of whom some, bronght up 
in delicacy, were wholly unused to rough treatment 
or physical sufTering. They nuist have imdergono 
the most dreadful hardships, suddenly snatched from 
their families and homes ; exposed to a torrent of 
false accusations imputing to them tho most odious, 
shameful, and devilish crimes ; made objects of tho 
abhorrence of their neighbors, and, through tho noto- 
riety of the affair, of tho world ; carried to and fro, 
over rugged roads, from jail to jail, too often by un- 
feeling sub-officials; imnuired in crowded, filthy, and 
noisome prisons ; heavily loaded with chains, in dun- 
geons ; left to cnduro insufficient attention to neces- 
sary personal wants, often with inadequate food and 
clothing ; all expressions of sympathy for them with- 
hold and forbidden, — those who ought to have boon 
their comforters denouncing them in tho most awful 
language, and consigning them to tho doom of ox- 
communication from tho church on earth and from 
the hope of heaven. Surely, there have boon few 
cases in the dark and mournful annals of human 
suffering and wrong, few instances of " man's in- 
humanity to man," to bo compared with what tho vic- 
tims of this tragedy endured. Their bearing through 
the whole, from the arrest to tho scaffold, reflects 



credit upon our common nnturo. Tlio fju't that Ward- 
well lost his firmn(!sH, for a timo, ou^ht not to oxcludo 
his name from tho honored list. Its claim to ho 
cnrolhd on it was nohly retrieved hy his recantation, 
and his manly death. 

There is one consideration that imjtarts a hi'^her 
character to the deportment of these persons than 
almost any of the tesiis to which the firmness of tho 
mind of man has ever hecn exposed. There was 
notiiing outside of the mind to iiold it up, hut every 
thing to hear it down. All that they had in this world, 
all on which they could rest a hope for the next, »vas 
the consciousness of their innocence. Their fidelity 
to this sense of innocence — for a lie would have saved 
them — their unfaltering allegiance to this conscious- 
ness ; the preservation of a calm, steadtast, serene 
mind ; their faith and their prayers, rising ahovc the 
maledictions of a maniac moh, in devotion to God and 
forgiveness to men, and, as in the case of Martha Corey 
and George Burroughs, in clear and collected expres- 
sions, — this was truly sublime. It was appreciated, 
at the time, hy many a heart melted hack to its 
humanity ; and paved the way for the deliverance of 
tho world, wo trust for ever, from all such delusions, 
horrors, and spectacles. The sufferers in 1002 deserve 
to be held in grateful remembrance for having illus- 
trated tho dignity of which our nature is capable ; for 
having shown that integrity of conscience is an armor 
which protects the peace of the soul against all the 
powers that can assail it ; and for having given an 



example, tliat will be seen of all and in all times, of 
a courage, constanc)'^, and faithfulness of which all 
are capable, and which can give the victory over 
infirmities of age, weaknesses and pains of body, and 
the most apj)alling combination of outrages to the 
mind and heart that can be accumulated by the vio- 
lence and the wrath of man. Superstition and igno- 
rance consigned their names to obloquy, and shrouded 
them in darkness. But the day has dawned ; the shad- 
ows are passing away ; truth has risen ; the reign of 
superstition is over ; and justice will be done to all 
who have been true to themselves, and stood fast 
to the integrity of their souls, even to the death. 

Tiie place selected for the executions is worthy of 
notice. It was at a considerable distance from the jail, 
and could be reached only by a circuitous and difficult 
route. It is a fatiguing enterprise to get at it now, 
although many passages that approach it from some 
directions have since been opened. But it was a point 
where the spectacle would be witnessed by the whole 
surrounding country far and near, being on the brow 
of the highest eminence in the vicinity of the town. 
As it was believed by the people generally that they 
were engaged in a great battle with Satan, one of 
whose titles was " tlie Prince of the Power of the 
Air," pcrhups they chose that spot to execute his con- 
federates, because, in going to that high point, they 
were flaunting him in his face, celebrating their tri- 
umph over him in his own realm. There is no contem- 
poraneous nor immediately sul)scqucnt record, that 




the executions took place on tiie spot assigned by 
tradition ; but that tradition has been uniform and 
continuous, and appears to be verified by a singular 
item of evidence that has recently come to light. A 
letter written by the late venerable Dr. Holyoke to a 
friend at a distance, dated Salem, Nov. 25, 1791, has 
found its way back to tlie possession of one of his grand- 
daughters, which contains the following passage : " In 
the last month, there died a man in this town, by the 
name of John Symonds, aged a hundred years lacking 
about six months, having been born in the famous '92. 
He has told me that his nurse had often told him, that, 
while she was attending his mother at the time she lay 
in with him, she saw, from the chaml)er windows, those 
unhappy people hanging on Gallows' Hill, who were 
executed for witches by the delusion of the times." 
John Symonds lived and died noar the southern end 
of Beverly Bridge, on the south side of what is now 
Bridge Street. He was buried from his house, and 
Dr. Bentley made the funeral prayer, in which lie is 
said to have used this language : " God ! the man 
who with his own hands felled the trees, and hewed 
the timbers, and erected the house in which wo are 
now assembled, was the ancestor of him whose re- 
mains we are about to inter." It is inferrible from 
this that Symonds was born in the house from which 
he was buried. Gallows Hill, now " Witch Hill " is in 
full view from that spot, and would be from the 
chamber windows of a house there, at any time, even 
in the season when intervening trees were in their 




fullest foliage, while no other point in that direction 
would he discernible. From the only other locality 
of persons of the name of Symonds, at that time, 
in North Fields near the North Bridge, Witch Hill 
is also visible, and the only point in that direction 
that then would have been. 

" Witch Hill " is a part of an elevated ledge of 
rock on the western side of the city of Salem, broken 
at intervals ; beginning at Legg's Hill, and trending 
northerly. The turnpike from Boston enters Salem 
through one of the gaps in this ridge, which has been 
widened, deepened, and graded. North of the turn- 
pike, it rises abruptly to a considerable elevation, called 
" Norman's Rooks." At a distance of between three 
and four hundred feet, it sinks again, making a wide 
and deep gulley ; and then, about a third of a mile 
from the turnpike, it re-appears, in a precipitous and, 
at its extremity, inaccessible cliff, of the height of 
fifty or sixty feet. Its southern and western aspect, 
as seen from the rough land north of the turnpike, is 
given in the headpiece of the Third Part, at the begin- 
ning of this volume. Its sombre and desolate appear- 
ance admits of little variety of delineation. It is 
mostly a bare and naked ledge. At the top of this 
cliff, on the southern brow of the eminence, the exe- 
cutions are supposed to have taken place. The out- 
line rises a little towards the north, but soon begins to 
fall off to the general level of the country. From that 
direction only can the spot be easily reached. It is 
hard to climb the western side, impossible to clamber 



up the southern face. Settlement creeps clown from 
the north, and has partially asceudcd the eastern ac- 
clivity, but can never reach tlie brink. Scattered 
patches of soil arc too thin to tempt cultivation, and 
the rock is too craggy and steep to allow occupation. 
An active and flourishing manufacturing industry 
crowds up to its base ; but a considerable surface at 
the top will for ever remain an open space. It is, as 
it were, a platform raised high in air. 

A magnificent panorama of ocean, island, headland, 
bay, river, town, field, and forest spreads out and 
around to view. On a clear summer day, the picture 
can scarcely be surpassed. Facing the sun and the 
sea, and the evidences of the love and bounty of 
Providence shining over the landscape, the last look 
of earth must have suggested to the sufferers a wide 
contrast between the mercy of the Creator and the 
wrath of his creatures. They beheld the face of the 
blessed God shining upon them in his works, and they 
passed with renewed and assured faith into his more 
immediate presence. The elevated rock, uplifted by 
the divine hand, will stand while the world stands, 
in bold relief, and can never be obscured by the 
encroachments of society or the structures of art, — 
a fitting memorial of their constancy. 

When, in some comhig day, a sense of justice, fip- 
preciation of moral firmness, sympathy for suffering 
innocence, the diffusion of refined sensibility, a dis- 
criminating discernment of what is really worthy of 
commemoration among men, a rectified taste, a gen- 



crous public spirit, and gratitude for the light that 
surrounds and protects us against error, folly, and 
fanaticism, shall demand the rearing of a suitable 
monument to the memory of those who in 1692 pre- 
ferred death to a falsehood, the pedestal for the lofty 
column will be found ready, reared by the Creator on 
a foundation that can never be shaken while the globe 
endures, or worn away by the elements, man, or time 
— the brow of Witch Hill. On no other spot could 
such a tribute be more worthily bestowed, or more 
conspicuously displayed. 

The effects of the delusion upon the country at 
large were very disastrous. It cast its shadows over 
a broad surface, and they darkened the condition of 
generations. The material interests of the people 
long felt its blight. Breaking out at the opening of 
the season, it interrupted the planting and cultivating 
of the grounds. It struck an entire summer out of 
one year, and broke in upon another. The fields were 
neglected ; fences, roads, barns, and even the meeting- 
house, went into disrepair. Burdens were accumu- 
lated upon the already over-taxed resources of the 
people. An actual scarcity of provisions, amounting 
almost to a famine, continued for some time to press 
upon families. Farms were brought under mortgage 
or sacrificed, and large numbers of the people were 
dispersed. One locality in the village, which was the 
scene of this wild and tragic fanaticism, bears to this 
day the marks of the blight then brought upon it. 
Although in the centre of a town exceeding almost 



all others in its agricultural development and thrift, 
— every acre elsewhere sliowir.g the touch of modern 
improvement and culture, — tlie ''old meeting-house 
road," from the crossing of the Essex Railroad to the 
point where it meets the road leading nortli from Tap- 
leyvillc, has to-day a singular appearance of abandon- 
ment. The Surveyor of Highways ignores it. The 
old, gray, moss-covered stone walls are dila))idated, 
and tlirown out of line. Not a house is on cither 
of its borders, and no gate opens or path leads to 
any. Neglect and desertion l)rood over the contiguous 
grounds. Indeed, there is but one house standing 
directly on tlie roadside until you reach the vicinity of 
the site of the old meeting-liouse ; and that is owned 
and occupied by a family that bear the name and arc 
the direct descendants of Rebecca Nurse. On botli 
sides there are the remains of cellars, which declare 
that once it was lined by a considerable population. 
Along this road crowds thronged in 1092, for weeks 
and months, to witness tlie examinations. 

Tlie ruinous results were not confined to the village, 
but extended more or less over the country generally. 
Excitement, wrought up to consternation, spread every- 
where. People left their business and families, and 
came from distant points, to gratify their curiosity, 
and enable themselves to form a judgment of the char- 
acter of the phenomena here exhibited. Strangers 
from all parts swelled the concourse, gathered to 
behold the sufferings of " the alllicted " as manifested 
at the examinations ; and flocked to the surrounding 



eminences and the grounds immediately in front of 
Witch Hill, to catch a view of the convicts as they 
approached the jjlace selected for their execution, 
offered their dying prayers, and hung suspended high 
in air. Such scenes always draw together great multi- 
tudes. None have possessed a deeper, stronger, or 
stranger attraction ; and never has the dread spectacle 
been held out to view over a wider area, or from so 
conspicuous a spot. The assembling of such multi- 
tudes so often, for such a length of time, and from 
such remote quarters, must have been accompanied and 
followed by wasteful, and in all respects deleterious, 
effects. The continuous or frequently repeated ses- 
sions of the magistrates, grand jury, and jury of 
trials ; and the attendance of witnesses summoned 
from other towns, or brought from beyond the juris- 
diction of the Province, and of families and parties 
interested specially in the proceedings, — must have 
occasioned an extensive and protracted interruption 
of the necessary industrial pursuits of society, and 
heavily increased the public burdens. 

The destruction dealt upon particular families ex- 
tended to so many as to constitute in the aggregate a 
vast, wide-spread calamity.* 

* The following is a statement of the loss inflicted upon the estate 
of George Jacobs, Sr. The property of the son was utterly de- 

" An Account of what was seized and taktn away from my FatJier's Estate, 
Geot'ije Jacobs, Sr., late of Salem, deceased, by Sheriff Corwin and his 
Assistants in the year 1692. 

" When my s.iid fiither was executed, and I was forced to fly out of the 
country, to my great damage and distress of my family, my wife and 




The facts that bcloi g to the story of the witchcraft 
delusion of 1692, or that may in any way explain or 
ill'istrato it, so far as tliey can be gathered from the 
imperfect and scattered records and papers that have 
come down to us, have now been laid before you. 
But there are one or two inquiries that force themselves 
upon thoughtful minds, which demand consideration 
before we close the subject. 

daughter imprisonerl, — viz, my wife eleven months, and my dniighter 
seven months in prison, — it cost them twelve pounds money to the oflicers, 
besides other charges. 

Five cows, fair large cattle, £!i per cow £15 00 

Eight loads of Eno;lish hay taken out of the barn, 33s. per load . 14 
A parcel of apples that made 24 barrels cider to halves; viz., 12 

barrels cider, 8s. per barrel 4 IG 

Sixty bushels of Indian corn, 28. Gd. per bushel 7 10 

A mare 200 

Two good feather beds, and furniture, rugs, blankets, sheets, bol- 
sters and pillows 10 

Two brass kettles, cost 600 

Money, 12s. ; a large gold thumb ring, 20s 1 12 

Five swine 3 15 

A quantity of pewter which I cannot exactly know the worth, 

perhaps 300 

67 13 

Besides abundance of small things, meat in the house, fowls, 

chairs, and other things tuok clear away above 12 

79 13 

" George Jacous." 

When Edward Bishop and his wife Sarah were arrested, horsehold 
goods which were valued by the sheriff himself at ten pounds, — he 
refusing that sum <br their restitution, — six cows, twenty-four swine, 
forty-six sheep, were taken from his farm. The imprisonment of him- 
self and wife (prior to their escape) aggregated thirty-seven weeks. 
Ten shillings a week for board, and other charges and prison fees 



Wliat arc \vc to 'lii.;k of those persons who com- 
menced and continued tlie accusations, — the " afflict- 
ed children" and their associates? 

In some instances and to some extent, the steps 
they took and the testimony they bore may be ex- 
plained by referring to the mysterious energies of the 
imagination, the power of enthusiasm^ the intluence 
of sympathy, and the general prevalence of credulity, 

amounting to five pounds, were assessed upon his estate, and taken by 
distraint. A fan)ily of twelve cliildren was left without any to direct 
or care for them, and the product of tlie farm for that year wholly 
cut off. 

Tiiere were taken from the estate of Sanmel Wardwell, who was 
executed, five cows, a heifer and yearling, a horse, nine hogs, eight 
loads of hay, six acres of standing corn, and a set of carpenters' tools. 
From the estate of Dorcas Hoar, a widow, there were taken two 
cows, an ox and mare, four pigs, bed, bed-curtains and bedding, and 
other hou-seliold stuff. 

Persons apprehended were made to pay all charges of every kind 
for their maintenance, fuel, clothes, expenses of transportation from 
jail to jail, and inexorable court and prison fees. The usual fee to the 
clerk of the courts was £1. 17s. M., sometimes more ; sometimes, il- 
though very rarely, a little less. He must have received a larga 
amount of money in the aggregate that year. The prisoners were 
charged for every paper that was drawn up. If a reprieve was ob- 
tained, there was a fee. When discharged, there was a fee. The 
expenses of the executions, even hangmen's fees, were levied on the 
families of the sufTerers. Abraham Foster, whose mother died in 
prison, to get her body for burial, had to pay £2. 10s. 

When the value of money at that time is considered, and we bear 
in mind that most of the persons apprehended were farmers who 
have but little cash on hand, and that these charges were levied on 
their stock, crops, and furniture in their absence, and in the un- 
restrained exercise of arbitrary will, by the sljeriff or constables, we 
can judge how utterly ruinous the operation must have beer. 




ignorance, superstition, and fanaticism at the time ; 
and it is not probable, tliat, wlien they began, they 
had any idea of the tremendous length to which 
they were finally led on 

It was perhaps their original design to gratify a lovo 
of notoriety or of mischief ) v creating a sensation and 
excitement in their neighborhood, or, at the worst, to 
wreak theii vengeance upon one or two individuals 
who had olfcnded them. They soon, however, became 
intoxicated by the terrible success of their imposture, 
and were swept along by the frenzy they had occa- 
sioned. It would be much more congenial with our 
feelings to believe, that these misguided and wretched 
young persons early in the proceedings became them- 
selves victims of the delusion into which they plunged 
every one else. But we arc forbidden to form this 
charitable judgment by the manifestations of art and 
contrivance, of deliberate cunning and cool malice, 
they exhibited to the end. Once or twice they were 
caught in their own snare ; and nothing but the 
blindness of the bewildered community saved them 
from disgraceful exposure and well-deserved punish- 
ment. They appeared as the prosecutors of every 
poor creature that was tried, and seemed ready to 
bear testimony against any one uj)on whom suspicion 
might happen to fall. It is dreadful to reflect upon 
the enormity of their wickedness, if they were con- 
scious of imposture throughout. It seems to tran- 
scend the capabilities of human crime. There is, 
perhaps, a slumbering element in the heart of man, 





that sleeps for ever in the l)osom o' • iiiioccnt and 
good, and ro(|uires the porjietration of a great win 
to wake it into action, but which, when once aroused, 
impels tlic transgressor onward with increasing mo- 
mentum, as the descending hall is accelerated in its 
course. It may ho that crime hegets an appetite for 
crime, which, like all other appetites, is not quieted 
hut inflamed hy gratification. 

Their precise moral condition, the degree of guilt 
to he ascribed, and the sentence to he passed u})on 
them, can only bo determined by a considerate re- 
view of all the circumstances and influences around 

For a period embracing about two months, they had 
been in the habit of meeting together, and spending 
the long winter evenings, at Mr. Parris's house, prac- 
tising the arts of fortune-telling, jugglery, and magic. 
What they had heard in the traditions and fables of 
a credulous and superstitious age, — stories handed 
down in the interior settlements, circulated in com- 
panies gathered around the hearths of farmhouses, 
indulging the excitements of terrified imaginations ; 
filling each other's minds with wondrous tales of 
second-sight, ghosts and spirits from the unseen world, 
together with what the West-Indian or South-Amer- 
ican slaves could add, — was for a long time the food 
of their fancies. They experimented continually upon 
what was the spiritualism of their day, and grew 
familiar with tht3 imagery and the exhibitions of the 
marvellous. The prevalent notions concerning witch- 



oraft operations and spectral manifestations came into 
full edect amoni^ tliem. Livinjjj in the constant con- 
templation of such things, their minds Itecame Inlhimed 
and hewildered ; and, at the same time, they grew ex- 
pert in practising and exhibiting tlie forms of pretended 
supcrnaturalism, the conditions of diaholical distrac- 
tion, and the terrors of demonology. Apparitions rose 
before them, revealing tlie secrets of the past and of 
the future. They Iteheld the present sj)ectres of per- 
sons then bodily far distant. They declared in lan- 
guage, fits, dreams, or trance, the immediate oi>erations 
upon themselves of the Devil, by the agency of his 
confederates. Their sufierings, while thus under " an 
evil hand," were dreadful to behold, and soon drew 
wondering and horror-struck crowds around them. 

At this point, if IMr. Parris, the ministers, and magis- 
trates had done their duty, the mischief might have 
been stopped. The girls ought to have l)een rebuked 
for their dangerous and forbidden sorceries and divi- 
nations, their meetings broken up, and all such tamper- 
ings with alleged supcrnaturalism and spiritualism 
frowned down. Instead of this, the neighboring minis- 
ters were summoned to meet at Mr. Parris's house 
to witness the extraordinary doings of tlie girls, and 
all they did was to indorse, and pray over, them. 
Countenance was thus given to their {)retensions, and 
the public confidence in the reality of their state- 
ments established. Magistrates from the town, church- 
members, leading people, and people of all sorts, flocked 
to witness the awful power of Satan, as displayed in 





tlio tortures and contorticiiis of tlic " anilctod cliil- 
droii ; " Avlio buctiinc ohjects of wonder, so fnr as 
their feats were regarded, and of pity in view of their 
agonies and convulsions. 

The asj)ect of the evidence rather favors the sup- 
])osition, that the girls originally had no design of 
accusing, or bringing injury ui)on, any one. But 
the ministers at Parris's house, physicians aiid oth- 
ers, began the work of destruction by pronouncing 
the opinion that they were bewitched. This carried 
with it, according to the received doctrine, a con- 
viction that there were witches about ; for the Devil 
could not act except through the instrumentality of 
beings in confederacy with him. Immediately, the 
girls were beset by everybody to say who it was that 
bewitched them. Yielding to this pressure, they first 
cried out upon such persons as might have been most 
naturally suggested to them, — Sarah Good, ai)parently 
without a regular home, and wandering with her chil- 
dren from house to house for shelter and relief; Sarah 
Osburn, a melancholy, broken-minded, bed-ridden per- 
son ; and Tituba, a slave, probably of mixed African 
and Indian blood. At the examination of these per- 
sons, the girls were first brought before the public, 
and the awful power in their hands revealed to them. 
The success with which they acted their parts ; the 
novelty of the scene ; the ceremonials of the occasion, 
the magistrates in their imposing dignity and author- 
ity, the trappings of the marshal and his officers, the 
forms of proceeding, — all which they had never seen 



before ; the notice taken of them ; the iuiportancc at- 
tached to them; invested the alVair witli a Htrango 
fascination in their eyes, and awaivcned a new chiss 
of Hcntiments and idcnis in their mintls. A love 
of distinction and notoriety, and the several |»assions 
that arc gratified by the expression hy others of sym- 
pathy, wonder, and achniration, were l)ron^ht into 
phiy. Tlie fact tliat all eyes were npon them, with 
the special notice of the magistrates, antl the entire 
con(idence with which their statements were received, 
flattered and l)Cgniled them. A fearfnl respfM»sil)i- 
lity had been assumed, and they were irretrievably 
committed to their position. While they adhered to 
that position, their power Avas irresistible, and they 
were sure of the i)ublic sympathy and of being 
cherished by the public favor. If they faltered, they 
would be the objects of universal execration and of the 
severest penalties of law for the wrongs already done 
and the falsehoods already sworn to. Tiiere was no 
retracing their steps ; and their only safety was in con- 
tinuing the excitement they had raised. New victims 
were constantly required to prolong the delusion, 
fresh fuel to keep up the conflagration ; and they 
went on to cry out ujton others. With the exception 
of two of their number, who appear to have indulged 
spite against the families in which they were servants, 
there is no evidence that they were actuated by private 
grievances or by animosities })ersonal to themselves. 
They were ready and sure to wreak vengeance upon 

cd doubts about the truth of their 






testimony, or the propriety of the proceedings ; but, 
beyond this, they were very indifferent as to whom 
tlicy shoiikl accuse. Tliey were willing, as to that 
matter, to follow the suggestions of others, and availed 
themselves of all the gossip and slander and unfriendly 
talk in their families that reached their ears. It was 
found, that a hint, with a little information as to per- 
sons, places, and circumstances, conveyed to tliem by 
those who had resentments and grudges to gratify, 
would be sufficient for the purpose. There is reason 
to fear, that there were some behind them, giving 
direction to the accusations, and managing the friglit- 
ful machinery, all the way through. The persons who 
were apprehended had, to a considerable extent, been 
obnoxious, and subject to prejudice, in connection 
with quarrels and controversies related in Part I., 
vol. i. They were " Topsfield men," or the oppo- 
nents of Bayley or of Parris, or more or less con- 
nected with some other feuds. As further proof that 
tlie girls were under the guidance of older heads, it 
is obvious, that there was, in the order of the pro- 
ceedings, a skilful arrangement of times, sequences, 
and concurrents, that cannot be ascribed to them. No 
novelist or dramatist ever laid his plot deeper, dis- 
tributed his characters more artistically, or conducted 
more methodically the progress of his story. 

In the mean while, they were becoming every day 
more perfect in the performance of their parts ; and 
their imaginative powers, nervous excitability, and 
flexibility and rapidity of muscular action, were kept 



under constant stimulus, and attaining a higher 
development. The effect of these things, so long 
continued in connection with tlie per})etual pretence, 
becoming more or less imbued with tlio cliaracter of 
belief, of their alliance and communion with s})iritual 
beings and manifestations, may have unsettled, to some 
extent, their minds. Added to tliis, a sense of the 
horrid consequences of their actions, accumulating with 
every pang tlicy inflicted, the innocent blood they were 
shedding, and the depths of ruin into wliieh they 
were sinking themselves and others, not only demoral- 
ized, but to some extent, perhaps, crazed them. It is 
truly a marvel that their physical constitutions did not 
break down under the exliausting excitements, the 
contortions of frame, the force to which the bodily 
functions were subjected in trances and fits, and the 
strain i^pon all the vital energies, protracted througli 
many months. The wonder, however, would have 
been greater, if the mental and moral balance had 
not thereby been disturbed. 

Perpetual conversance with ideas of supernatural- 
ism ; daily and niglitly communications, wliether in the 
form of conscious imposture or honest delusion, with 
the spiritual world, continued througli a great lengtli 
of time, — as much at least as the exclusive contem- 
plation of any one idea or class of ideas, — must be al- 
lowed to be unsalutary. AViiatever keeps the thoughts 
wholly apart from the objects of real and natural life, 
and absorbs them in abstractions, cannot be favorable 
to the soundness of tlic faculties or the tone of the 



mind. Tliis must especially be the effect, if the sub- 
jects tluis monopolizing the attention partake of the 
marvellous and mysterious. When these things are 
considered, and the external circumstances of the 
occasion, the wild social excitement, the consternation, 
confusion, and horror, that were all crowded and heaped 
up and kept pressing upon the soul without inter- 
mission for months, the wonder is, indeed, that not 
only the accusers, prosecutors, and sufferers, but the 
whole people, did not lose their senses. Never was 
the great boon of life, a sound mind in a sound body, 
more liable to be snatched away from all parties. The 
depositions of Ann Putnam, Sr., have a tinge of sad- 
ness ; — a melancholy, sickly mania running through 
them. Something of the kind is, perhaps, more or less 
discernible in the depositions of others. 

Let us, then, relieve our common nature from the 
load of the imputation, that, in its normal state, it is 
capable of such inconceivable wickedness, by giving to 
these wretched persons the benefit of the supposition 
that they were more or less deranged. This view 
renders the lesson they present more impressive and 
alarming. Sin in all cases, when considered by a 
mind that surveys the whole field, is itself insanity. 
In the case of these accusers, it was so great as to 
prove, by its very monstrousncss, that it had actually 
subverted their nature and overthrown their reason. 
They followed their victims to the gallows, and jeered, 
scoffed, insulted them in their dying hours. Sarah 
Churchill, according to the testimony of Sarah Inger- 



soil, on Olio occasion came to herself, and manifested 
the symptoms of a restored moral consciousness : but 
it was a temporary gleam, a lucid interval ; and she 
passed back into darkness, continuing, as before, to 
revel in falsehood, and scatter destruction around her. 
With this single exception, there is not the slightest 
appearance of compunction or reflection among them. 
On the contrary, they seem to have been in a frivolous, 
sportive, gay frame of thought and spirits. There is, 
perluips, in this view of their conduct and demeanor, 
something to justify the belief that they were really 
demented. The fact that a large amount of skilful 
art and adroit cunning was displayed l)y them is not 
inconsistent with the supposition that they had become 
partially insane ; for such cunning and art arc often 
associated with insanity. 

The quick wit and ready expedients of the " alllicted 
children " are very remarkable. They were prompt 
with answers, if any attempted to cross-examine them, 
extricated themselves most ingeniously if ever brought 
into embarrassment, and eluded all efforts to entrap or 
expose them. Among the papers is a deposition, the 
use of which at the trials is not apparent. It does not 
purport to bear upon any particular case. Joseph 
Hutchinson was a firm-minded man, of strong common 
sense. He could not easily ])e deceived ; and, al- 
though he took part in the proceedings at the begin- 
ning, soon became opposed to them. It looks as if, l)y 
close questions put to the child, A])igail Williams, on 
some occasion of his casually meeting her, he had tried 



to expose the falseness of her accusations, and that he 
was made to put the conversation into the shape of a 
deposition. It is as follows : — 

" The Dr position of JosErii HuTcnixsoN, aged fifty- 
nine years, do testify as folio wetli : " Abigail Williams, I 
have heard you speak often of a book that has been offered 
to yon. She said that there were two books : one was a 
short, thick book ; and the other was a long book. I asked 
her what color the book was of. She said the books were 
as red as blood. I asked her if she had seen the 1 ■ :s 
opened. She said she had seen it many times. I asked 
her if she did see any writing in the book. She said there 
were many lines written ; and, at the end of every line, there 
was a seal. I asked her, who brought the book to her. 
She told me that it was the black man. I asked her who 
the black man was. She told me it v/as the Devil. I asked 
her if she was not afraid to see the Devil. She said, at the 
first she was, and did go from him ; but now she was not 
afraid, but could talk with him as well as she could with me." 

There is an air of ease and confidence in the 
answers of Abigail, which illustrate^ the promptness 
of invention and assurance of their grounds v/hicli the 
girls manifested on all occasions. They were never at 
a loss, and challenged scrutiny. Hutchinson gained 
no advantage, and no vjuc else ever did, in an en- 
counter with them. 

Whatever opinion may be formed of the moral or 
mental condition of the " afilicted children," as to 
their sanity and responsibility, there can be no doubt 
that they were great actors. In mere jugglery and 



sleight of hand, they bear no mean comparifson with 
tlie workers of wonders, in that line, of our own day. 
Long practice had given them coni})lctc control over 
their countenances, intonations of voice, and the entire 
muscular and nervous organization of their bodies ; so 
that they could at will, and on the instant, go into fits 
and convulsions, swoon and fall to the floor, put their 
frames into strange contortions, bring the blood to the 
face, and send it back again. They could be deadly 
pale at one moment, at the next flushed ; their hands 
would be clenched and hold together as with a vice ; 
their limbs stiff and rigid or v, holly relaxed ; their 
teeth would be set ; they would go through the par- 
oxysms of choking and strangulation, and gasp for 
breath, bringing froth and blood from the mouth ; they 
would utter all sorts of screams in unearthly tones ; 
their eyes remain fixed, sometimes bereft of all light 
and expression, cold and stony, and sometimes kindled 
into flames of passion ; they would pass into the state 
of somnambulism, without aim or conscious direction 
in their movements, looking at some point, where was 
no apparent object of vision, with a wild, unmeaning 
glare. There are some indications that they had 
acquired the art of ventrilo(j[uism ; or they so wrought 
upon the imaginations of the ])ehuldcrs, that the sounds 
of the motions and voices of invisible beings were Ijc- 
lievcd to be heard. They would start, tremljle, and 
be pallid before ap})aritions, seen, of course, only by 
themselves ; but their acting was so perfect that all 
present thought they saw them too. They would 



address and liold colloquy Avitli spectres and gliosis ; 
and the responses of the unseen heings would be audi- 
ble to the fancy of the bewildered crowd. They would 
follow with, tlieir eyes the airy visions, so that others 
imagined they also beheld them. This was surely a 
high dramatic achievement. Their representations 
of pain, and every form and all the r.igns and marks of 
bodily sulTering, — as in the case of Ann Putnam's 
arm, and the indentations of teeth on the flesh in many 
instances, — utterly deceived everybody ; and there 
were men present who could not easily have been im- 
posed upon. The Attorney-general was a barrister fresh 
from Inns of Court in London. Deodat Lawson had 
seen something of the world ; so had Joseph Herrick. 
Joseph Hutchinson was a sharp, stern, and sceptical 
observer. John Putnam was a man of great practical 
force and discrimination ; so was his brother Nathaniel, 
and others of the village. Besides, there were many 
from Boston and elsewhere competent to detect a trick ; 
but none could discover any imposture in the girls. 
Sarah Nurse swore that she saw Goody Bibber cheat in 
the matter of the pins ; but Bibber did not belong to the 
village, and was a bungling interloper. The accusing 
girls showed extraordinary skill, ingenuity, and fancy 
in inventing the stories to which they testified, and 
seemed to have been familiar with the imagery which 
belonged to the literature of demonology. This has 
led some to suppose that they must have had access to 
books treating the subject. Our fathers o.bhorrcd, with 
a perfect hatred, all theatrical exhibitions. It would 



have filled them with horror to propose going to a play. 
But iiinvittingly, week after week, month in and month 
out, ministers, deaeoiis, brethren, and sisters of the 
church rushed to Nathaniel Ingcrsoll's, to the village 
and town meeting-houses, and to Tliomas Beadle's 
Globe Tavern, and gazed with wonder, awe, and 
admiration upon acting such as has seldom been sur- 
passed on the boards of any theatre, high or low, 
ancient or modern. 

There is anotlier aspect that perplexes and con- 
founds the judgments of all who read the story. It 
is this : As it is at present the universal opinion that 
the whole of this witchcraft transaction was a delu- 
sion, having no foundation whatever but in the imagi- 
nations and passions ; and as it is now certain, that all 
the accused, both the condemned and the pardoned, 
were entirely innocent, — how can it be exijlaincd that 
so many were led to confess themselves guilty ? The 
answer to this question is to be found in tiiosc gen- 
eral principles which have led the wisest legislators 
and jurists to the conclusion, that, although on their 
face and at first thought, they appear to be the very 
best kind of evidence, yet, maturely considered, con- 
fessions made under the hope of a benefit, and some- 
time even without the impulses of such a hope, are 
to be received with great caution and wariness. Here 
were fifty-five persons, who declared themselves guilty 
of a capital, nay, a diabolical crime, of which we know 
they were innocent. It is probable that the motive 
of self-preservation influenced most of them. An 



awful doutli was i)i immctliatc prospect. Tliorc was 
110 escape from the wiles of the accusers. The delu- 
sion liad obtained full possession of the people, the 
jury, and the Court. By acknowledging a compact 
with Satan, they conld in a moment secure their livea 
and liberty. It was a position which only the firmest 
minds could safely occupy. The princi})les and the 
prowess of ordinary characters could not withstand 
the temptation and the pressure. They yielded, and 
v/ere saved from an impending and terrible death. 

As these confessions had a decisive effect in pre- 
cipitating the public mind into the depths of its delu- 
sion, gave a fatal power to the accusers, and carried 
the proceedings to the horrible extremities whicli have 
concentrated upon them the attention of the world, 
they assume an importance in the history of the affair 
that demands a full and thorough exposition. At the 
examination of Ann Foster, at Salem Village, on the 
15th of July, 1092, the following confession was, " after 
a while," extorted from her. It was undoubtedly the 
result of the overw helming effect of the horrors of 
her condition upon a distressed and half-crazed mind. 
It shows the staple materials of which confessions 
were made, and the forms of absurd superstition with 
which the imaginations of people were then filled : — 

The Devil appeared to her in the shape of a bird at 
several times, — such a bird as she never saw the like before ; 
and she had had tliis gift (viz., of striking the afflicted down 
with her eye) ever since. Being asked why she thought 
that bird was the Devil, she answered, because he came 






\.]uto and vanislicd away black; and that the Devil told 
her she should have this gift, and that she must believe him, 
and told her she should have prosperity: and she said that 
he had appeared to her three times, and always as a bird, 
and the last time about half a year since, and sat upon 
a table, — had two legs and great eyes, and that it was the 
second time of his appearance that he promised her pros- 
perity. She further stated, that it was Goody Carrier 
that made her a witch. She told her, that, if she would not 
be a witch, the Devil would tear her to pieces, and carry 
her away, — at which time she promised to serve the Devil ; 
that she Avas at the meeting of the witches at Salem \'illage ; 
that Goody Carrier came, and told her of the meeting, and 
would have her go : so they got upon sticks, and went said 
journey, and, being there, did sec Mr. Burroughs, the minis- 
ter, Avho spake to them all ; that there were then twenty- 
five persons met together ; that she tied a knot in a rag, 
and threw it into the fire to hurt Timothy Swan, and that 
she did hurt the rest that complained of her by squeezing 
puppets like them, and so almost choked them ; that she 
and Martha Carrier did both ride on a stick or pole when 
they went to the witch-meeting at Salem Village, and that 
the stick broke as they were carried in tii* air above the 
tops of the trees, and they fell : but she did hi ag fast about 
the neck of Goody Carrier, and they were presently at the 
village ; that she had heard some of the witches say that 
there were three hundred and five in the whole coimtry, 
and that they would ruin that place, the village ; that there 
were also present at that meeting two men besides Mr. 
Burroughs, the minister, and one of them had gray hair ; 
and that the discourse among the witches at the meeting 
in Salem Village was, that they would afllict there to set 
up the Devil's kingdom. 


win licit. \ FT AT SALKM V!I.LA(ii:. 

'J'lui LMHifcssioM (»r wliicli i\\{) forcgoiiiLi' is tlio siili- 
stiinci' U|t|K>ars to luivo Ikh'ii dniwn out ul lour .s«!V(!riil 
cxainiiiiilions oii diU'eiviit days, during- wliicli sIk; was 
iiidiicinl by llu3 iiilluoiit'cs around lie;' lo nialu! hvv 
testiinoiiy more and more oxtravaj2;ant at cacli suc- 
cessive examination. Jler dau;.;litei-, Mary Lacy, called 
Cloody Lacy, was brought up on the cliar;^e of witcli- 
cral't at the same tinse ; and, iij)on finding the mother 
conlessinj^, she saw that her only safely was in con- 
fessing also. When confronted, the daughter cried 
out to the mcUher, " We have forsaken Jesus Christ, 
and the Devil hath got hold of us. How shall wo 
get clear of this Kvil One ? " She proceeded to say 
that she had accom{)anied lier mother and (Joody 
Carrier, all three riding together on the pole, to 
Salem ^'illagc. She then made the following state- 
ment : " About three or four years ago, she saw Mistress 
Bradbury, CJoody llowc, and (Joody Nurse baptized by 
the old Serpent at Newbury Falls ; that he dip])cd 
their heads in the water, and then said they were his, 
and he had power over them ; that there were six bap- 
tized at that time, wdio were some of the chief or higher 
powers, and that there might be near about a hun- 
dred in company at that time." It being asked her 
" after what manner she went to Newbury Falls," she 
answered, " the Devil carried her in his arms." 
She said, that, " if she did take a rag, and roll it up 
together, and imagine it to represent such and such 
a person, then that, whatsoever she did to that rag so 
rolled up, the person represented thereby would bo 

wrrniciiAFT at salkm villawk. 




in lik<^ niiiiiiKU' allliclcil." \\vv (liuinlilcM", Jilso iiiumjil 
Miiry Ijiicy, lollowud Mio uxiiiiiplo of lior mollicr and 
grandniollu!!', and iitado conrcssion. 

An cxaniinalion of IIk; confi'ssions sliows, tlial, wlicii 
accused jxM'son.s niadt; \\\) tliuir minds to conliiss, liicy 
saw, thai, to mala; iiunr safety secure;, it was necessiiry 
to jiio the whole hin^tli of tiie pojiuhir suiMM'stitioii 
and fanaticism. In many inslanc(!S, they appear to 
have fahricated tiieir stori(!s witii much ingenuity and 
tact, making them tally witli the statenuMits of the 
accus(!rs, adding points ami items that gave an iiir 
of truthfulness, and Ihlling in with curnnit notions 
and fancies. Tlnjy were undonl)t(;dly under training 
by tlie girls, and were provided with the materials 
of their testimony. Their depositions are valual)le, 
inasmuch as they enable us to collect about the whole 
of the notions then j)revalcni on the subject. If, in 
delivering their evidences, any prompting was needed, 
the accusers were at their elbows, and helped them 
along in their stories. If, in any particular, they were 
in danger of contradfcting themselves or others, they 
were checked or diverted. In one case, a confessing 
witch was damaging her own testimony, whereu})on 
one of the alTlicted cried out that she saw the shapes 
or ap})aritions of other witches interfering M'ith her 
utterance. The witness took the hint, })retended to 
iiave lost the power of expressing herself, and was 
removed from the stand. 

In some cases, the confessing witches showed great 

adroitness, and knowledge of human nature. "When 
VOL. II. 26 





a Iciuling minister was visitln;.'' tliom in tho prison, 
one of tlioni cy'hhI out as lio passed her cell, calliii<^ 
liini by name, " Oli ! I renieniher a text you preaelied 
on in En<^lan(l, twenty years since, from tliese words : 
' Your sin will find you out ; ' for I find it to be true 
in my own case." This skilful comi)liment, showing 
the power of his preaching making an impression 
which time could not efface, was no doubt flattering 
to the good man, and secured for her his favorablo 

Justice requires that their own explanation of tho 
influences which led them to confess should not bo 

The following declaration of six women belonging 
to Andover is accompanied by a paper signed by more 
than fifty of the most respectable inhabitants of that 
town, testifying to their good character, in which it 
is said that " by their sober, godly, and exemplary con- 
versation, they have obtained a good report in the 
place, where they have been well esieemed and ap- 
proved in the church of which they are members:" — 

" We whose names are underwritten, inhabitants of An- 
dover, when as that horrible and tremendous judgment, 
beginning at Salem Village, in the year 1G92, by some culled 
witchcraft, first breaking forth at Mr. Parris's house, sev- 
eral young persons, being seemingly afflicted, did accuse 
sc aral persons for afflicting them ; and many there believing 
it so to be, we being informed, that, if a person was sick, 
the afflicted person could tell what or who was the cause 
of that sickness : John Ballard of Andover, his wife being 





Bick at tlio Sdino time, lie, citluT from lilmsi'lf, or by tlio ad- 
vice of others, fetched two cf the persons called the alllicted 
persons from Salem Village to Andover, which was the be- 
ginning of that dreadful calamity that befell ns in Andover, 
believing the said accusations to bo true, sent for the said 
persons to come together to the meeting-house in Andover, 
the alllicted persons being there. After Mr. lianuinl had 
been at prayer, we were bli?idfolded, and our han<ls were 
laid upon the afllicted persons, they being in their fits, and 
falling into their fits at our coming into their presence, as 
they said : and some led us, and laid our hands ui>on them ; 
and then they said they were well, and that we were guilty 
of afllicting them. "Whereupon we were all s>.izcd as prison- 
ers, by a warrant from the justice of the peace, and forthwith 
carried to Salem ; and by reason of that sudden surprisal, 
we knowing ourselves altogether innocent of that crime, we 
were all exceedingly astonished and amazed, and conster- 
nated and affrighted, even out of our reason ; and our 
nearest and dearest relations, seeing us in that dreadful 
condition, and kr ^wing our great danger, apprehended there 
was no other way to save our lives, as the case was then 
circumstanced, but by our confessing ourselves to be such 
and such persons as the afflicted represented us to be, they, 
out of tenderness and pity, persuaded us to confess what we 
did confess. And, indeed, that confession that it is said we 
made was no other than what was suggested to us by some 
gentlemen, they telling us that we were witches, and they 
knew it, and we knew it, which made us think that it was 
so ; and, our understandings, our reason, our faculties almost 
gone, we were not capable of judging of our condition ; as 
also the hard measures they used with us rendered us in- 
capable of making our defence, but said any thing, and 



! » 



Ml I 









every thing which they desired, and most of what we said 

was but in ell'ect a conseutiu;; to what they said. Some 

time after, when we were better composed, they telling us 

what we had confessed, we die profess that Ave were innocent 

and ignorant of such things ; and we hearing that Samuel 

Wardvvell had renounced his confession, and was quickly 

after condemned and executed, some of us were told we 

were going after Wardwell. 

"Mary Osgood. 
Mauy Tyler. 
Deliverance Danb. 
Abigail Barker. 
Sarah Wilson, 
Hannah Tyler." 

The means employed, and the influences brought to 
bear upon persons accused, were, in many cases, such 
as wholly to overpower them, and to relieve their con- 
fessions, to a great extent, of a criminal character. 
They were scarcely responsible moral agents. In the 
month of October, Increase Mather came to Salem, to 
confer with the confessing witches in })rison. The 
result of his examinations is preserved in a document 
of which he is supposed to have been the author. The 
following extracts afford some explanation of the whole 
subject : — 

" Good wife Tyler did say, that, when she was first ap- 
prehended, she had no fears upon her, and did think that 
nothing could have made her confess against herself. But 
since, she had found, to her great grief, that she had wronged 
the truth, and falsely accused herself. She said that, when 
she was brought to Salem, her brother Bridges rode with 
her ; and that, all along the way from Andover to Salem, 




her brother kept telling her that she must needs be a witeh, 
since the afflicted accused her, and at her touch were raised 
out of their fits, and urging her to confess herself a ■\vitch. 
She as constantly told hhn that she was no witch, that she 
knew nothing of witchcraft, and begged him not to urge her 
to confess. However, when she came to Salem, she was 
carried to a room, where her brother on one side, and Mr. 
John Emerson on the other side, did tell her tliat she 
was certainly a witch, and that she saw the Devil before her 
eyes at that time (and, accordingly, the said Emerson would 
attempt with his hand to beat him away from her eyes) ; 
and they so urged her to confess, that she wished herself in 
any dungeon, rather than be so treated. Mr. Emerson told 
her, once and again, ' Well, I see you will not confess ! 
Well, I will now leave you ; and then you are undone, body 
and soul, for ever.' Iler brother urged her to confess, and 
told her that, in so doing, she could not lie : to which she 
answered, ' Good brother, do not say so ; for I shall lie if 
I confess, and then who shall answer unto God for my lie ? ' 
He still asserted it, and said that God would not suffer so 
many good men to be in such an error about it, and that she 
would be hanged if she did not confess ; and continued so 
long and so violently to urge and press her. to confess, that 
she thought, verily, that her life would have gone from her, 
and became so terrified in her mind that she owned, at 
length, almost any thing that they propounded to her ; that 
she had wronged her conscience in so doing ; she was guilty 
of a great sin in belying of herself, and desired to mourn for 
it so long as she lived. This she said, and a great deal 
more of the like nature ; and all with such affection, sorrow, 
relenting, grief, and mourning, as that it exceeds any pen to 
describe and express the same." 




i I 

i: '1; 

,)ll if 



" Goodwife "Wilson said tliat she was in the dark as to 
some things in her confession. Yet slie asserted that, 
knowingly, she never had familiarity with the Devil ; 
that, knowingly, she never consented to the afflicting of 
any person, &c. However, she said that truly she was in 
the dark as to the matter of her being a witch. And being 
asked how she was in the dark, she replied, that the afflicted 
persons crying out of her as afflicting them made her fear- 
ful of herself; and that was all that made her say that she 
was in the dark." 

" Goodwife Bridges said that she had confessed against 
herself things which were all utterly false ; and that she 
was brought to he confess'on by being told that she cer- 
tainly was a witch, and so made to believe it, — tliough she 
had no other grounds so to believe." 

Some explanation of the details which those, pre- 
vailed upon to confess, put into their testimony, and 
which seemed, at the time, to establish and demon- 
strate the truth of their statements, is afforded by 
what Mary Osgood is reported, by Increase Mather, to 
have said to him on this occasion : — 


Being asked why she prefixed a time, and spake of her 
being baptized, &c., about twelve years since, she replied 
and said, that, when she had owned the thing, they asked 
the time, to which she answered that she knew not the 
time. But, being told that she did know the time, and must 
tell the time, and the like, she considered that about twelve 
years before (when she had her last child) she had a fit of 
sickness, and was melancholy ; and so thought that that 
time might be as proper a time to mention as any, and 
accordingly did prefix the said time. Being asked about 



the cat, in the shape of which she had confessed that the 
Devil had appeared to her, &c., she replied, that, being told 
that the Devil had appeared to her, and must needs appear 
to her, &c. (she being a witch), she at length did own that 
the Devil had appeared to her ; and, being pressed to say in 
what creature's shape he appeared, she at length did say 
.that it was in the shape of a cat. Remembering that, some 
time before her being apprehended, as she went out at her 
door, she saw a cat, &c. ; not as though she any whit sus- 
pected the said cat to be the Devil, in the day of it, but 
because some creature she must mention, and this came 
into her mind at that time." 

This poor woman, as well as several others, besides 
Goodwife Tyler, who denied and renounced their con- 
fessions, manifested, as Dr. Mather affirms, the utmost 
horror and anguish at the thought that they could 
have been so wicked as to have belied themselves, and 
brought injury upon others by so doing. They " be- 
wailed and lamented their accusing of others, about 
whom they never knew any evil" in their lives. They 
proved the sincerity of their repentance by abandoning 
and denouncing their confessions, and thus offering 
their lives as a sacrifice to atone for their falsehood. 
They wei 3 then awaiting their trial ; and there seemed 
no escape from the awful fate which had befallen all 
persons brought to trial before, and who had not 
confessed or had withdrawn their confession. Fortu- 
nately for them, the Court did not meet again in 1G92 ; 
and they were acquitted at the regular session, in the 
January following. 





In one of Calef's tracts, he sums up his views, on 
the subject of the confessions, as follows : — 

" Besides the powerful argument of life (and freedom 
from hardships, not only promised, but also performed to all 
that owned their guilt), there are numerous instances of the 
tedious examinations before private persons, many hours 
together ; they all that time urging them to confess (and 
taking turns to persuade them), till the accused were wea- 
ried out by being forced to stand so long, or for want of 
sleep, &c., and so brought to give assent to what they said ; 
they asking them, 'Were you at such a witch meeting?' or, 
' Have you signed the Devil's book ? ' &c. Upon their reply- 
ing ' Yes,* the whole v;as drawn into form, as their con- 

This accounts for the similarity of construction and 
substance of the confessions generally. 
Calef remarks : — 

" But that which did mightily further such confessions 
was their nearest relations urging them to it. These, see- 
ing no 0^1 er way of escape for them, thought it the best 
advice that could be given ; hence it was, that the husbands 
of some, by counsel, often urging, and utmost earnestness, 
and children upon their knees intreating, have at length 
prevailed with them to say they were gu'dty." 

One of the most painful things in the whole affair 
was, that the absolute conviction of the guilt of the 
persons accused, pervading the community, took full 
ctfect upon the minds of many relatives and friends. 
They did not consider it as a matter of the least pos- 
sible doubt. They therefore looked upon it as wicked 



H' I ;■ 


obstinacy not to confess, and, in this sense, an addi- 
tional and most conclusive evidence of a mind alien- 
ated from truth and wholly given over to Satan. This 
turned natural love and previous friendships into re- 
sentment, indignation, and abhorrence, wliich left the 
unhappy prisoners in a condition where only the most 
-wonderful clearness of conviction and strength of char- 
acter could hold them up. And, in many cases ^>ilerc 
they yielded, it was not from unworthy fear, or for 
self-preservation, but because their jiulgment was over- 
thrown, and their minds in complete subjection and 

There can, indeed, hardly be a doubt, thai, in some 
instances, the confessing persons really believed them- 
selves guilty. To explain this, we must look into the 
secret chambers of the human soul ; we must read 
the history of the imagination, and consider its power 
over the understanding. We must transport ourselves 
to the dungeon, and think of its dark and awful walls, 
its dreary hours, its tedious loneliness, its heavy and 
benumbing fetters and chains, its scanty fare, and all 
its dismal and painful circumstances. We must re- 
flect upon their influence over a terrified and agitated, 
an injured and broken spirit. We must think of the 
situation of the poor prisoner, cut oiT from hope ; 
hearing from all quarters, and at all times, morning, 
noon, and night, that there is no doubt of his guilt ; 
surrounded and overwhelmed by accusations and evi- 
dence, gradually but insensibly mingling and con- 
founding the visions and vagaries of his troubled 

(Ti -t 

I ■? 



p.- 'I 


dreams with the reveries of his wakiug hours, until 
his reason becomes obscured, his recollections are 
thrown into derangement, his mind loses the power 
of distinguishing between what is perpetually told him 
by others and what belongs to the suggestions of his 
own memory : his imagination at last gains complete 
ascendency over his other faculties, and he believes 
and declares himself guilty of crimes of which he is 
as innocent as the child unborn. The history of the 
transaction we have been considering, affords a clear 
illustration of the trutli and reasonableness of this 

The facility with which persons can be persuaded, 
by perpetually assailing them with accusations of the 
truth of a charge, in reality not true, even when 
it is made agahist themselves, has been frequently 
noticed. Addison, in one of the numbers of his 
" Spectator," speaks of it in connection with our pres- 
ent subject: " When an old woman," says he, " begins 
to dote, and grow chargeable to a parish, she is gen- 
erally turned into a witch, and fills the whole coun- 
try with extravagant fancies, imaginary distempers, 
and terrifying dreams. In the mean time, the poor 
wretch that is the innocent occasion of so many evils 
begins to be frighted at herself, and sometimes con- 
fesses secret commerces and familiarities that her 
imagination forms in a delirious old age. This fre- 
quently cuts off charity from the greatest objects of 
compassion, and inspires people with a malevolence 
towards those poor, decrepit parts of our species 



ill whom human nature is defaced by infirmity and 

This passage is important, in addition to the bearing 
it has upon the point we have been considering, as 
describing the state of opinion and feeling in England 
twenty years after the folly had been exploded here. 
In another numl)er of the same series of essays, he 
bears evidence, that the superstitions which here came 
to a head in 1092 had long been prevalent in the 
mother-country : " Our forefathers looked upon nature 
with more reverence and horror before the world was 
enlightened by learning and philosophy, and loved to 
astonish themselves with the apprehensions of witcli- 
craft, prodij^ies, charms, and enchantments. There 
was not a village in England that had not a ghost in 
it ; the churchyards were all haunted ; every large 
common had a circle of fairies belonging to it ; and 
there was scarce a shepherd to be met with who had 
not seen a spirit." These fancies still linger hi the 
minds of some in the Old World and in the New. 

After allowing for the utmost extent of prevalent 
superstitions, the exaggerations incident to a state 
of general excitement, and the fertile inventive facul- 
ties of the accusinp" girls, there is much in the evi- 
dence that cannot easily be accounted for. In other 
cases than that of "Westgate, we find the sym})toms 
of that bewildered condition of the senses and imagi- 
nation not at all surprising or unusual in the expe- 
rience of men staggering home in midnight hours 
from tavern haunts. Disturbed dreams were, it is 



1 K 



not improbable, a fruitful source of delusion. A largo 
part of the evidence is susceptible of cxi)lanation by 
the supposition, that the witnesses had confounded 
the visions of their slee})ing, with the actual observa- 
tions and occurrences of their waking hours. At the 
trial of Susanna Martin, it was in evidence, that one 
John Kembal had agreed to purchase a puppy from 
the prisoner, but had afterwards fallen back from his 
bargain, and procured a puppy from some other per- 
son, and that Martin was heard to say, " If I live, I 
will give him pui)pies enough." The circumstances 
seem to mo to render it probable, that the following 
piece of evidence given by Kembal, and to which the 
Court attached great weight, was the result of a night- 
mare occasioned by his apprehension and dread of the 
fulfilment of the reported threat : — 

:■. M; 

" I, this deponent, coming from his intended house in 
the woods to Edmund EUiot's house where I dwelt, about the 
sunset or presently after ; and there did arise a little black 
cloud in the north-west, and a few drops of rain, and the 
wind blew pretty hard. In going between the house of 
John Weed and the meeting-house, this deponent came by 
several stumps of trees by the wayside ; and he by impulse 
he can give no reason of, that made him tumble over the 
stumps one after another, though he had his axe upon his 
shoulder which put him in much danger, and made him re- 
solved to avoid the next, but could not. 

" And, when he camo a little below the meeting-house, 
there did appear a little thing like a puppy, of a darkish 
color. It shot between my legs forward and backward, as 



one that were dancing the luiy.* And this deponent, being 
free from all fear, used all possiljlc endeavors to cut it with 
his axe, but could not hurt it ; and, as he was thus laboring 
with his axe, the puppy gave a little jump from him, and 
seemed to go into the ground. 

" In a little further going, there did appear a black puppy, 
somewhat bigger than the first, but as black as a coal to his 
apprehension, which came against him with such violence 
as its quick motions did exceed his motions of his axe, do 
what he could. And it flew at his belly, and away, and 
then at his throat and over his shoulder one way, and go 
oft', and up at it again another way ; and with such quick- 
ness, speed, and violence did it assault him, as if it would 
tear out his throat or his belly. A good while, he was with- 
out fear ; but, at last, I lelt my heart to fail and sink under 
it, that I thought my life was going out. And I recovered 
myself, and gave a stait up, and ran to the fence, and call- 
ing upon God and naming the name Jesus Christ, and then 
it invisibly away. My meaning is, it ceased at once ; but 
this deponent made it not known to anybody, for fretting 
his wife."t 

* Love's Labour's Lost, act v., so. 1. 

t There are several otlier depositions in tliese cases, that may per- 
liaps be explained under the head of nightmare. The following are 
specimens; that, for instance, of Robert Downer, of Salisbury, who 
testifies and says, — 

" That, several years ago, Susanna Martin, the then wife of George 5Iar- 
tiu, being brought to court for a witch, the said Downer, having some words 
with her, this deponent, among other things, told her he believed that she 
was a witch, by what was said or witnessed against her; at wliicli she, 
seeming not well alTec'ed, said tiiat a, or some, she-devil would fetch 
him away shortly, at '.'hich this deponent was not much moved; but at 
night, as he lay in his bed in his own house, alone, there came at his win- 

it t, 




We are all exposed to the danger of confounding 
the impressions left by the imagination, when, set free 
from all confinement, it runs wild in dreams, with the 
actual experiences of wakeful faculties in real life. It 
is a to])ic worthy the consideration of writers on evi- 
dence, and of legal trilmnals. So also is the eflcct, 
upon the personal consciousness, of the continued 

dow the likeness of a cat, and by and by came up to his bed, took fust hold 
of his throat, and lay hard upon him a considerable while, and was like 
to throttle him. At length, he minded what Susanna Martin threatened 
him with the day before. He strove what he could, and said, 'Avoid, thou 
she-devil, in the name of thj Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost!' 
and then it let him go, and jumped down upon the floor, and went out at 
the window again." 

Susanna Martin, by the boldness and severity of her language, in 
defending herself against the charge of witchcrait, had evidently, for a 
long time, rendered herself an object of dread, and seems to have dis- 
turbed the dreams of the superstitious throughout the neighborhood. 
For instance, Jarvis Ring, of Salisbury, made oath as follows : — 

" That, about seven or eight years ago, he had been several times 
afflicted, in the night-time, by some body or some thing coming up upon 
him when he was in bed, and did sorely afflict him by lying upon him; 
and he could neither move nor speak while it was upon him, but sometimes 
made a kind of noise that folks did hear him and come up to him ; and, as 
soon as anybody came, it would be gone. This it did for a long time, both 
then and since, but he did never see anybody clearlj'; but one time, in the 
night, it came upon me as at other times, and I did then see the person of 
Susanna Martin, of Amesbury. I, this deponent, did perfectly see her; and 
she came to this deponent, and took him by the hand, and bit him by the 
finger by force, and then came and lay upon him awhile, as formerly, and 
after a while went away. The print of the bite is yet to be seen on the 
little finger of his right hand ; for it was hard to heal. He further saith, 
that several times he was asleep when it came; but, at that time, he was as 
fairly awaked as ever he was, and plainly saw her shape, and felt her teeth, 
as aforesaid." 

Barnard Peach made oath substantially as follows : — 



repetition of tlic same story, or of hearing it repeated 
)>y otlicrs. Instances arc given in books, — perhaps 
can he recalled l»y our own individual experience or 
observation, — in which wliat was originally a delibc- 

" Thnt about six or 80v?n years past, being in bed on a Lord's-day night, 
he heard a scramblinf,' at tlie window, and saw Susanna Martin come iti at 
the window, and jump down upon the floor. She was in her hood and 
scarf, and tlie same dress tliat siie was in before, at meeting tlie same day. 
Being come in, she was coming up towards this deponent's face, but turned 
back to his feet, and took hold of them, and drew up his body into a heap, 
and h\y upon him about an hour and a half or two hours, in all which timo 
this deponent could not sti." nor speak; but, feeling himself beginning to be 
loosened or lightened, and he begiinung to strive, he put out his hand among 
the clothes, and took hold of her hand, and brought it up to his mouth, and 
bit three of the fingers (as he judges) to the breaking of the bones; which 
done, the said Martin went out of the chamber, down the stairs, ;'nd out of 
the door. The deponent further declared, that, on anf)ther Lord's-day night, 
while sleeping on the hay in a barn, about midnight the said Susanna 
Martin and another came out of the shop into the barn, and one of them said, 
' Here he is,' and then came towards this deponent. He, having a quarter- 
staff, made a blow at them; but the roof of the burn prevented it, and they 
went away: but this deponent followed them, and, as they were going 
towards the window, made another blow at them, and struck them both 
down; but away they went out at the shop-window, and this deponent saw 
no more of tl em. And the rumor went, that the said Martin had a broken 
head at that time; but the deponent cannot speak to that upon his own 

Any one who has had the misfortune to be subject to niglitniare 
will find the elements of liis own experience very much resembling 
the descriptions given by Kembal, Downes Ring, and Peach. The 
terrors to which superstition, credulity, and ignorance subjected their 
minds ; the frightful tales of witchcraft and apparitions to wliich they 
were accustomed to listen ; and the contagious fears of the neighbor- 
hood in reference to Susanna Martin, taken in connection with a 
disordered digestion, an overloaded stomach, and . )/ard bed, or 
a strange lodging-place, — are wholly sufficient to account for all the 
phenomena to which they testified. 

V! r^ 

i Y- I 



rate fjihrication of falscliood or of fancy has coiiio, 
at hist, to bo regardt'd as a vui-itahlo ti-iith and a lual 

A tliorongh and ])liih)so{)liical treatise on the sub- 
ject of evidence is, in view of these considerations, 
much needed. Tlie liability all men are under to 
confound the fictions of their imaginations with the 
realities of actual ol)servation is not understood with 
sufiicient clearness by the conununity ; and, so long as 
it is not understood and regarded, serious mistakes 
and inconveniences will be apt to occur in seasons 
of general excitement. We are still disi)osed to at- 
tribute more importance than wo ought to strong 
convictions, without stopping to inquire whether they 
may not be in reality delusions of the understanding. 
The cause of truth demands a more thorough exami- 
nation of this whole suVyect. The visions that a}>- 
peared before the mind of the celebrated Colonel 
Gardiner are still regarded by the generality of pious 
people as evidence of miraculous interposition, while, 
just so far as they are evidence to that point, so far 
is the authority of Christianity overthrown ; for it is a 
fact, that Lord Herbert of Cherbury believed with equal 
sincerity and confidence that he had been vouchsafed 
a similar vision sanctioning his labors, when about 
to publish what has been pronounced one of the most 
powerful attacks ever made upon our religion. It is 
dangerous to advance arguments in favor of any cause 
•which may be founded upon nothing better than the 
reveries of an ardent imagination ! 




Tlio jdienoincna of droaius, of tlie exorcises and 
convictions which occupy tin; mind, wliile tlie avenues 
of the Hensea arc closed, and tlie soul is more or less 
extricated from its connection with (he l>ody, particu- 
larly in tlie peculiar conditions of partial slumher, are 
among the deep mysteries of human experience. The 
writers on mental philosophy have JKjt given them 
the attention they deserve. 

The testimony in these trials is })arlicularly valu- 
ahle as showing the })owor of the imagination to com- 
Ijletely deceive and utterly falsify the senses of soher 
persons, when wide awake and in broad daylight. 
The following dej)ositlon was given in Court under 
oath. The i)arties testifying were of lUKpiestionahle 
respectability. The man was probably a brother of 
James Bayley, the first minister of the Salem Village 


" The Deposition of Joseph Bayley, aged forty-four 
years. — Testifieth and saitli, that, ou the twenty-fifth day 
of May last, myself and my wife being bound to Boston, 
on the road, when I came in sight of the house where John 
Procter did live, there was a very hard blow struck on my 
breast, which caused great pain in my stomach and amaze- 
ment in my head, but did see no person near me, only my 
wife behind me on the same horse ; and, Avhen I came 
against said Procter's house, according to my understanding, 
I did see John Procter and his wife at said house. Procter 
himself looked out of the window, and his wife did stand 
just without the door. I told my wife of it ; and she did 
look that way, and could see nothing but a little maid at 
VOL. II. 27 



the door. Afterwfirds, about half a mile from the aforesaid 
house, I was taken speechless for some short time. My 
wife did ask me several questions, and dcsix'ed me, that, 
if I could not speak, I should hold up my hand ; which I 
did, and immediately I could speak as well as ever. And, 
when wi came to the way where Salem road cometh into 
Jpswich road, there I received another blow on my breast, 
which caused so much pain that I could not sit on my horse. 
And, when I did alight off my horse, to my understanding, 
I saw a woman cciaing towards us about sixteen or twenty 
pole from us, but d-'d not know wlio it was : my wife could 
not see her. When I did get up on my horse again, to my 
understanding, there stood a cow where I saw the woman. 
After that, we Avent to Boston without any further moles- 
tation ; but, after I came home again to Newbury, I was 
pinched and nipped by something invisible for some time : 
but now, througi God's goodness to me, I am well again. — 
Jurat in curia by Loth per= /US." 

Bay ley and his wife were ::;oiiig to Boston on elec- 
tion week. It was u good two days' journey from 
Newbury, as tlie roads then were, and riding as they 
did. According to the custom of the times, she was 
mounted on a pillion behind liim. They had probably 
passed the night at the house of Sergeant Thomas 
Putnam, with whom he wag connected by marriage. 
It was at the height of the witchcraft delirium. 
Thomas Putnam's house was the very focus of it. 
There they had listened to highly wrought accounts 
of its wonders and terrors, had witnessed the amazing 
phenomena exhibited by Ann Putnam and Mercy 
Lewis, and their minds been fdlcd witli images of 



s of 

spectres of living witches, and ghosts of the dead. 
They had seen with their own eyes the tortures of 
the girls under cruel diaholical influence, of which 
tliey had heard so much, and realized the dread out- 
break of Satan and his agents upon the lives and 
souls of men. 

They started the next morning on their way through 
the gloomy woods and over the solitary road. It was 
known tliat they were to pass the house of John 
Procter, believed to be a chief resort of devilish spirits. 
Oppressed with terror and awe, Bayley was on the 
watch, his heart in his mouth. The moment he came 
in sight, his nervous agitation reached its climax ; 
and he experienced the shock he describes. "When 
he came opposite to the house, to his horror there 
was Procter looking at him from the window, and 
Procter's wife standing outside of the door. He knew, 
that, in their proper persons and natural bodies, they 
were, at that moment, both of them, and had been 
for six weeks, in irons, in one of the cells of the jail 
at Boston. Bayley's wife, from her position on the 
pillion behhid him, had her face directed to the other 
side of the road. He told her wiiat he saw. She 
looked round to the house, and could see nothing but 
a little maid at the door. After one or two more 
fits of fright, he reached tlie Lynn road, had escaped 
from the infernal terrors of tlie infected region, and his 
senses resumed their natural functions. It was sev- 
eral days before his nervous agitations ceased. Alto- 
gether, this is a remarkable case of hallucination : 




showing that the wildest fancies hrought before the 
mind in dreams may be paralleled in waking hours ; 
and that mental excitement may, even then, close the 
avenues of the senses, exclude the perception of real- 
ity, and substitute unsu])stantial visions iu the place 
of actual and natural ol)jccts. 

There may be an interest in some minds to know 
who the " little maid at the door " was. The elder 
children of John Procter were eitlier married off, or 
lived on his farm at Ipswich, with the exception of 
Benjamin, his oldest son, who remained Avith his father 
on the Salem farm. Benjamin had been imprisoned 
two days before Bayley passed the house. Four days 
before, Sarah, sixteen years of age, had also been 
arrested, and committed to jail. This left only \Yil- 
liam, eighteen years of age, who, three days after, was 
himself put into prison ; Samuel, seven ; Abigail, be- 
tween three and four years of age ; and one still 
younger. No female of the family was then at the 
house older than Abigail. This poor deserted child 
was " the little maid." Curiosity to see the i)assing 
strangers, ov possibly the hope that they might be her 
father and mother, or her brother and sister, brought 
her to the door. 

In the terrible consequences that resulted from the 
mischievous, and perhaps at the outset merely sport- 
ive, proceedings of the children in 3Ir. Parris's family, 
wo have a striking illustration of the principle, that 
no one can foretell, with respect either to himself or 
others, the extent of the suffering and injury that may 




be occasioned by the least dei)artui'e from truth, or 
from the practice of deception. In the horrible suc- 
cession of crimes througli which those young persons 
were led to pass, in the depth of depravity to which 
they were thrown, we discern the fate that endangers 
all who enter upon a career of wickedness. 

No one can have an adecpiate iiuov.lGdgo of the 
human mind, who has not contemplated its develo})- 
ments in scenes like those that have now been related. 
It may be said of the frame of our spiritual, even with 
more emphasis than of our corporeal nature, that we 
are fearfully and wonderfully made. In the maturity 
of his bodily and mental organization, health gliding 
through his veins, strength and symmetry clothing his 
form, intelligence beaming from his countenance, and 
immortality stamped on his brow, man is indeed the 
noblest work of God. In the degradation and cor- 
ruption to which he can descend, he is the most 
odious a d loathsome object in the creation. The 
human mind, when all its faculties are fully devel- 
oped and in proper proportions, reason seated on 
its rightful throne and shedding abroad its light, 
memory embracing the past, hope smiling upon the 
future, faith leaning on Heaven, and the affections 
diffusing through all their gentle warmtli, is worthy 
of its source, deserves its original title of " image of 
God," and is greater ai' ^. better than the whole ma- 
terial universe. It is nobler tlian all the works of 
God ; for it is an emanation, a part of God himself, 
" a ray from the fountain of light." But where, I 




II: »' 

ask, can you find a more deplorable and miserable 
object than the mind in ruins, tossed by its own re- 
l)ellious principles, and distorted by the monstrously 
luicqnal development of its faculties ? You will look 
in vain upon the eartliq ike, the volcano, or the hur- 
ricane, for those elements of the awful oiid terrible 
which are manifested in a community of men whose 
passions have trampled upon their principles, whose 
imaginations have overthrown the government of rea- 
son, and who are swept along by the torrent until all 
order and security are swallowed up and lost. Such 
a spectacle we have now been witnessing. We have 
seen the whole po])ulation of this place and vicinity 
yielding to the sway of their credulous fancies, allow- 
ing their passions to be worked up to a tremendous 
pitch of excitement, and rusliing into excesses of 
folly and violence that have left a stain on their 
memory, and will awaken a sense of shame, pity, and 
amazement in the minds of their latest posterity. 

There is nothing more mysterious than the self- 
deluding power of the mind, and there never were 
scenes in which it was more clearly displayed than 
the witchcraft prosecutions. Honest men testified, 
with perfect confidence and sincerity, to the most ab- 
surd hnpossibilities ; while those who thought them- 
selves victims of diabolical influence would actually 
exhibit, in their corporeal frames, all the appropriate 
symptoms of the sufferings their imaginations had 
brought upon them. Great ignorance prevailed in 
reference to the influences of the body and the mind 




upon each other. While the imaghiatioii was called 
into a more extensive and energetic action than at 
any succeeding or previous period, its properties 
and laws were but little understood : the extent of 
the connection of tl.a will and the muscular system, 
the reciprocal influence of the nerves and the fancy, 
and the strong and universally pervading sympathy 
between our physical and moral constitutions, were 
almost wholly unknown. These important subjects, 
indeed, are but imperfectly understood at the present 

It may perhaps be aflirmed, that the relations of 
the human mind with the spiritual world will never 
be understood while we continue in the present stage 
of existence and mode of being. The error of our 
ancestors — and it is an error into which men have 
always been prone to fall, and from wb.ioh our own 
times are by no means exempt — was in imagining 
that their knowledge had extended, in this direction, 
beyond the boundary fixed unalterably to our re- 
searches, while in this corporeal life. 

It admits of much question, whether human science 
can ever find a solid foundation in what relates to the 
world of spirits. The only instrument of knowledge 
we can here employ is language. Careful tiiinkers 
long ago came to the conclusion, that it is impossible 
to frame a language precisely and exclusively ada})ted 
to convey abstract and spiritual ideas, even if it is 
possible, as some philosophers have denied, for the 
mind, in its present state, to have such ideas. All 


*; M 



attempts to construct siicli a language, though made 
by tlie most ingenious men, have failed. Language 
is based upon imagery, and associations drawn from 
so much of the world as the senses disclose to us ; 
that is, from material objects and their relations. Wo 
are here confined, as it were, within narrow walls. 
AVe can catch only glimpses of what is above and 
around us, outside of those walls. Such glimpses 
may be vouchsafed, from time to time, to rescue us 
from sinking into materialism, and to keep alive our 
faith in scenes of existence remaining to be revealed 
when the barriers of our imprisonment shall be taken 
down, and what we call death lift us to a clearer and 
broader vision of universal being. 

Of the reality of the spiritual world, we are assured 
by consciousness and by faith ; but our knowledge of 
that world, so far as it can go into particulars, or be- 
come the subject of definition or expression, extends 
no further than revelation opens the way. In all ages, 
men have been awakened to the " wonders of the in- 
visible world;" but they remahi "wonders" still. 
Nothing like a permanent, stable, or distinct science 
has ever been achieved in this department. Man and 
God are all that are placed witliin our ken. Metaphys- 
ics and Theology are the names given to the sciences 
that relate to them. The greater tiie number of books 
written by human learning and ingenuity to expound 
them, the more advanced the intelligence and piety of 
mankind, the less, it is confessed, do we know of tliem 
in detail, the more they rise above our comprehension, 




the more luifatliomable Ijccomc their depths. Expe- 
rience, liistory, the progress of light, all increase our 
sense of the impossibility of estimating the capacities 
of the human soul. So also we find that the higher 
we rise towards the Deity, in the contemplation of his 
works and word, the more does he continue to tran- 
scend our power to describe or imagine his greatness 
and glory. The revelation which the Saviour brought 
to mankind is all that the heart of man need desire, 
or the mind of man can comprehend. We are God's 
children, and he is our Father. That is all ; and, the 
wiser and better we become, the more we arc con- 
vinced, and satisfied that it is enough. 

There are, undoubtedly, innumerable beings in the 
world of spirits, besides departed souls, the Redeemer, 
and the Father. But of such beings we have, while 
here, no absolute and specific knowledge. In every 
age, as well as in our own, there have been persons 
who have believed themselves to hold communica- 
tion with unseen spirits. The methods of entering 
into such communication have been infinitely diversi- 
fied, from the incantations of ancient sorcery to the 
mediums and rappings of the present day. In former 
periods, particularly where the belief of witchcraft 
prevailed, it was thought that such communications 
could be had only with evil spirits, and, mostly, with 
the Chief of evil spirits. They were accordingly treated, 
as criminal, and made the subject of the severest pen- 
alties known to the law. In our day, no such penalties 
arc attached to the practice of seeking spiritual com- 




munications. Tliosc who have a fancy for such experi- 
ments arc allowed to amuse themselves in this way 
without rei)roach or molestation. It is not charged 
upon them that they are dealing with the Evil One or 
any of his subordinates. They do not imagine such a 
thing themselves. I have no disposition, at any time, 
in any given case, to dispute the reality of the wonder- 
ful stories told in reference to such matters. All that 
I am prompted ever to remark is, that, if spirits do 
come, as is believed, at the call of those who seek to put 
themselves into communication with them, there is no 
evidence, I venture to suggest, that they are good 
spirits. I iiave never heard of their doing much 
good, substantially, to any one. No important Lruth 
has been revealed by them, no discovery been made, 
no science had its field enlarged ; no department of 
knowledge has been brought into a clearer light; no 
great interest has been promoted ; no movement of 
human affairs, whether in the action of nations or the 
transactions of men, has been advanced or in any way 
facilitated ; no impulse has been given to society, and 
no elevation to life and character. It may be that the 
air is full of spiritual beings, hovering about us ; but 
all experience shows that no benefit can be derived 
from seeking their interver.tion to share with us the 
duties or the burdens of our present probation. The 
mischiefs which have flowed from the belief that they 
can operate upon human affairs, and from attempting 
to have dealings with them, have been illustrated in 
the course of our narrative. In this view of the sub- 





joct, no law is nce<lo(l to prevent real or pretended 
communication with invisible beings. Enligbtoncd re- 
flection, common sense, natural prudence, would seem 
to be sufficient to keep men from meddling at all with 
practices, or countenancing notions, from which all 
liistory proclaims that no good has ever come, but 
incalculable evil flowed. 

For the conduct of life, while here in these bodies, 
wo must confine our curiosity to fields of knowledge 
open to our natural and ordinary faculties, and em- 
braced within the limits of the established condition 
of things. Our fathers filled their fancies with the 
visionary images of ghosts, demons, apparitions, and 
all other supposed forms and shadows of the invisil)lo 
world ; lent their ears to marvcllo is stories of com- 
munications with spirits ; gave to supernatural tales 
of witchcraft and demonology a wondering credence, 
and allowed them to occupy their conversation, specu- 
lations, and reveries. They carried a belief of such 
things, and a proneness to indulge it, into their daily 
life, their literature, and the proceedings of tril)unals, 
ecclesiastical and civil. The fearful results shrouded 
their aniUiS in darkness and shame. Let those re- 
sults for ever stand conspicuous, beacon-monuments 
warning us, and coming generations, against super- 
stition ill every form, and all ciedulous and vain 
attempts to penetrate beyond the legitimate Ijounda- 
ries of human knowledge. 

The phenomena of the real world, so far as science 
discloses them to our contemplation ; the records of 



actual history; tlic lessons of our own experience ; tlio 
utterances of the voice within, audible only to our- 
selves ; and the teachings of the Divine Word, — are 
Kufiicicnt for tlie exercise of our faculties and tiio 
education of our souls during this brief period of 
our being, while in these bodies. In God's appointed 
time, we shall Ijc transferred to a higher level of vision. 
Then, but not before, we may hoi)e for re-union with 
disemi)odied spirits, for interconrse with angels, and 
for a nearer and more open communion with all divine 

The principal difference in the methods by which 
communications were ))elicved to be made between 
mortals and spiritual beings, at the time of the witch- 
craft delusion and now, is this. Then it was chiefly 
by the medium of the eye, but at present by the ear. 
The •' afflicted children " professed to have seen and 
conversed with the ghosts of George Burroughs's former 
wives and of others. They also professed to have seen 
the shapes or appearances of living persons in a dis- 
embodied form, or in the likeness of some animal or 
creature. Now it is affirmed by those calling them- 
selves Spiritualists, that, by certain rappings or other 
incantations, they can summon into immediate but 
invisible presence the spirits of the departed, hold 
conferences with them, and draw from them infor- 
mation not derivable from any sources of human 
knowledge. There is no essential distinction between 
the old and the new belief and practice. The con- 
sequences that resulted from the former would be 




wiTciiCRvrr at salem village. 


likely to result from the hitter, if it sliouhl ohtniii 
universal or general credence, l)e allowed to mix Avith 
judicial proceedings, or to any extent alVect the riglits 
of ])erson, proj)erty, or character. 

The " afflicted cliildren " at Salem Village had, l)y 
long ])ractice, become wonderful adejtts in tli(^ art of 
jugglery, and })rol)ably of ventriloquism. Tliey did 
many extraordinary things, and were believed to have 
constant communications with gliosts and s})ectres ; 
but tliey did not attain to sj)irltual rapping. If they 
had possessed that jtower, the credulity of judges, min- 
isters, magistrates, and peoi)le, would have been utterly 
overwhelmed, and no limit could have been put to the 
destruction tlicy migiit have wrought. 

If there was any thing su}>ernatural in the witch- 
craft of 1G92, if any other than human spirits were 
concerned at all, one thing is beyond a doubt: they 
were shockingly wicked spirits, and led those who 
dealt with them to the utmost delusion, crime, and 
perdition ; and this example teaches all who seek to 
consult with spirits, through a medium or in any 
other way, to be very strict to require beforehand 
the most satisfactory and conclusive evidence of good 
character before they put themselves into communi- 
cation with them. Spirits who are said to converse 
with people, in these modern ages, cannot be con- 
sidered as having much claim to a good repute. No 
valuable discovery of truth, no important guidance 
in human conduct, no useful instruction, has ever 
been conveyed to mankind through them ; and much 



I vK 

\ 1 



miseliicf porliiipH may have resulted from confiding' 
ill them. ]t is not avmho to place our minds imdor 
the infhieiice of any of our fullow-creaturuH, in the or- 
dinary ^niise of Iiunianity, xmlesH we know soniethinjij 
about them entillini^- tlicm to our ae(|uaintanec ; nnicli 
less 80, to take them into our intimacy or confidtMiee. 
Spirits cannot be put under oatli, or their credibility 
bo subjected to tests. AVlietlier they are spirits of 
trutli or falsehood cannot be known ; and common 
caution would seem to dictate an avoidance of their 
comjjany. The fields of knowledge opened to us in 
the works of mortal men ; the stores of human learn- 
ing and science ; the pages of history, sacred or pro- 
fane ; the records of revelation ; and the instructions 
and conversation of the wise and good of our fellow- 
creatures, while in the body, — are wide enough for our 
exploration, and may well occupy the longest lifetime. 
In its general outlines and minuter details, Salem 
Witchcraft is an illustration of the fatal effects of 
allowing the imagination inflamed by passion to take 
the place of common sense, and of pushing the curi- 
osity and credence of the human mind, in this stage 
of our being, while in these corporeal embodiments, 
beyond the boundaries that ought to limit their ex- 
ercise. If we disregard those boundaries, and try to 
overleap them, we shall be liable to the same results. 
The lesson needs to be impressed equally upon all 
generations and ages of the world's future history. 
Essays have been written and books published to 
prove that the sense of the miraculous is destined 




to (Iccliiio as mankind l)ocomos more enli^litoncd, and 
ascriliinj^ a jrreatcr or less tondency to tlio indulj^enco 
oi' this sense to imrticnlar periods of the eluireh, or 
systems of l)elier, or seliools of what is called plii- 
losopliy. It is maintain(Ml tliat it was more prevalent 
in tlie mediieval ages than in modern times. Some 
assort that it has had a greater development in Catholic 
than Protestant countries; and some, perhaps, insist 
upon the reverse. Some attemi)t to show that it has 
manifested itself more remarkably among Puritans 
than in other classes of Protestant Christians. The 
last and most ja'ctentious form of this dogma is, that 
the sense of the miraculous fades away in the })rog- 
ress of what arrogates to itself the name of Rational- 
ism. This is one of the delusive results of introducing 
generalization into historical disipiisitions. History 
deals with man. !^[an is always the same. The race 
consists, not of an aggregation, but of individuals, in 
all ages, never moulded or melted into classes. Each 
individual has ever retained his distinctness from every 
other. There has been the same infinite variety in 
every period, in every race, in every nation. Society, 
philosophy, custom, can no more obliterate these varie- 
ties than they can bring the countenances and features 
of men into uniformity. Diversity everywhere alike 
prevails. The particular forms and shapes in which 
the sense of the miraculous may express itself have 
passed and will pass away in the progress of civiliza- 
tion. But the sense itself remains ; just as particular 
costumes and fashions of garment pass away, while the 

» ■ f,i 





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I : I 


'I . . 
fV. 'j. 




human form, its front erect and its vision towards 
the heavens, remains. The sense of the miracidons 
remains with Protestants as much as with Catholics, 
with Churchmen as mucli as with Puritans, with those 
who reject all creeds, equally with those whose creeds 
are the longest and the oldest. In our day, it must 
have been generally noticed, that the wonders of what 
imagines itself to be Spiritualism are rather more 
accredited by persons who aspire to the character of 
rationalists than by those who hold on tenaciously 
to the old landmarks of Orthodoxy. 

The truth is, that the sense of the miraculous has 
not declined, and never can. It will grow deeper 
and stronger with the progress of true intelligence. 
As long as man thinks, he will feel that he is him- 
self a perpetual miracle. The more he thinks, the 
more will he feel it. The mind which can wander into 
the deepest depths of the starry heavens, and feel 
itself to be there ; which, pondering over the printed 
page, lives in the most distant past, communes with 
sages of hoar antiquity, with prophets and apostles, 
joins the disciples as they walk with the risen Lord 
to Emmaus, or mingles in the throng that listen to 
Paul at Mars' Hill, — knows itself to be beyond the 
power of space or time, and greater than material 
things. It knows not what it shall be ; but it feels 
that it is something above the present and visible. 
It realizes the spiritual world, and will do so more 
and more, the higlier its culture, the greater its free- 
dom, and the wider its view of the material nature 




by which it is environed, while in this transitory stage 
of its liistory. 

The lesson of our story will be found not to discard 
spiritual things, but to teach us, wliilc in the flesh, 
not to attempt to break through present limitations, not 
to seek to know more than has been made known of 
the unseen and invisible, but to keep the inquiries 
of our minds and the action of society within the 
bounds of knowledge now attainable, and extend our 
curious researches and speculations only as far as 
we can here have solid ground to stand u})on. 

To explain the superstitious opinions tliat took effect 
in the witchci-aft delusion, it is necessary to consider 
the state of biblical criticism at that period. That 
department of theological learning was then in a very 
immature condition. 

The authority of Scripture, as it appeared on the 
face of the standard version, seemed to require them 
to pursue the course they adopted ; and those enlarged 
and just principles of inter})retation whicli we are 
taught by the learned of all denominations at the pres- 
ent day to apply to the Sacred "Writings had not then 
been brought to the view of the i)eople or received 
by the clergy. 

It was gravely argued, for instance, that there was 
nothing improbable in the idea that witclies had the 
power, in virtue of their conn)act with the Devil, of 
riding aloft through the air, ])ecause it is recorded, in 
tlie history of our Lord's temptation, that Satan trans- 
ported him in a similar manner to the pinnacle of the 

VOL. II. 28 




1 i 

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1 )i 

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tcmj)lc, and to the siimmit of an exceedingly high 
mountain. And Cotton Mather declares, that, to his 
apprehension, the disclosures of the wonderful opera- 
tions of the Devil, upon and through his subjects, that 
were made in the course of the witchcraft prosecu- 
tions, had shed a marvellous light upon the Scriptures! 
What a perversion of the Sacred Writings to employ 
tliem for the purpose of sanctioning the extravagant 
and delirious reveries of the human imagination ! 
What a miserable delusion, to suppose that the Word 
of God could receive illumination from the most ab- 
surd and horrible superstition that ever brooded in 
darkness over the mind of man ! 

One of the sources of the delusion of 1692 was 
ignorance of many natural laws that have been re- 
vealed by modem science. A vast amount of knowl- 
edge on these sulyects has been attained since that 
time. In our halls of education, in associations for 
the diffusion of knowledge, and in a diversified and 
all-pervading popular literature, what was dark and 
impenetrable mystery tlien has been explained, ac- 
counted for, and brought within the grasp of all minds. 
The contemplation of the evils brought upon our 
predecessors by their ignorance of the laws of nature 
cannot but lead us to appreciate more highly our 
opportunities to get knowledge in this department. 
As we advance into the interior of the physical system 
to which we belong ; are led in succession from one 
revelation of beauty and grandeur to another, and the 
field of light and truth displaces that of darkness and 



mystery ; while the fofirful images that disturl)ccl tlie 
faith and bewildered the tlioiights of our fathers arc 
dissolving and vanishing, the wliolc host of spirits, 
ghosts, and demons disappearing, and the presence 
and providence of God alone found to fill all scenes and 
cause all effects, — our hearts ought to rise to him in 
loftier adoration and holier devotion. If, while wo 
enjoy a fuller revelation of his infinite and all-glorious 
operations and designs than our fathers did, the senti- 
ment of piety which glowed in their hearts like a coal 
from the altar of God has Ijeen permitted to grow dim 
in ours, no reproach their errors and faults can pos- 
sibly authorize will equal that which will justly fall 
upon us. 

Another cause of their delusion was too great a 
dependence upon the imagination. We shall find no 
lesson more clearly taught by history, by experience, 
or by observation, than this, that man is never safe 
while cither his fancy or his feeling is the guiding 
principle of his nature. There is a strong and con- 
stant attraction between his imagination and his pas- 
sions ; and, if either is permitted to exercise unlimited 
sway, the otlier will most certainly be drawn into co- 
operation with it, and, wlien they are allowed to act 
without restraint upon each other and with each other, 
they lead to the derangement and convulsion of his 
whole system. They constitute the combustible ele- 
ments of our being : one serves as the spark to explode 
the other. Reason, enlightened by revelation and 
guided by conscience, is the great conservative }»in- 








clplc : while that exercises the sovereign power over 
the fancy and tlie passions, we are safe ; if it is de- 
throned, no limit can be assigned to the ruin that may 
follow. In the scenes we have now been called to 
witness, we have perceived to what lengths of folly, 
cruelty, and crime even good men have been carried, 
who r(5lin(piished the aid, rejected the counsels, and 
abandoned the gi'idance of their reason. 

Another influence that operated to produce the catas- 
trophe in 1692 was the power of contagious sym})athy. 
Every wise man and good citizen ought to be aware of 
the existence and oi)eration of this power. There 
seems indeed to l)e a constitutional, original, sympathy 
in our nature. When men act in a crowd, their heart- 
strings are prone to vi))rate in unison. AVhatjver 
chord of passion is struck in one breast, the ,^amc will 
ring forth its wild note through the whole mass. This 
principle shows itself particularly in seasons of excite- 
ment, and its power rises in proportion to the ardor 
and zeal of those upon whom it acts. It is for every 
one who desires to be preserved from the excesses of 
popular feeling, and to prevent the community to which 
he belongs froir plunging into riotous arid blind com- 
motions, to keep his own judgment and emotions as 
free as possible from a i)ower that seizes all it can 
reach, draws them into its current, and sweeps them 
round and round like the Maelstrom, until they are 
overwhelmed and buried in its devouring vortex. 
When others are heated, the only wisdom is to deter- 
mine to keep cool ; whenever a i)eople or an individual 




is nisliing licadlong, it is tlic duty of i)atriotisiii and of 
friendship to chock tlie motion. 

In this connection it may bo remarked — and I should 
be sorry to bring the subject to a close without urging- 
the thought u])on your attention — that the mere power 
of synipatliy, the momentum Avith which men act in a 
crowd, is itself capable of convulsing society and 
overthrowing all its safeguards, -^'^ithout the aid or 
supi)Osed agency of supernatural beings. The early 
history of the colony of New York presents a case 
in point. 

In 1741, just half a century after the witchcraft 
prosecutions in Massachusetts, the city of New York, 
then containing about nine thousand inhabitants, wit- 
nessed a scene ouitc rivalling, in horror and folly, that 
presented here. Some one started the idea, that a con- 
spiracy was on foot, among the colored portion of the 
inhabitants, to murder the whites. The story was 
passed from one to another. Although subsequently 
ascertained to have been utterly without foundation, 
no one stopped to inquire into its truth, or had the 
wisdom or courage to discountenance its circulation. 
Soon a universal panic, like a conflagration, spread 
through the whole community ; and the results were 
most frightful. More than one hundred persons were 
cast into prison. Four white persons and eighteen 
negroes were hanged. Eleven negroes were burned 
at the stake, and fifty wore transj)orted into slavery. 
As in tlio witchcraft prosecutions, a clergyman was 
among the victims, and porished on the gallows. 








Tlic " New- York Negro Plot," as it was called, 
was indeed marked by all the features of al)siirdity in 
the delusion, ferocity in the po})ular excitement, and 
destruction along the path of its progress, which he- 
longed to the witchcraft proceedings here, and shows 
that any people, given over to the power of contagious 
passion, may be swept by desolation, and i»lunged into 

One of the practical lessons inculcated by the his- 
tory that has now been related is, that no duty is 
more certain, none more important, than a free and 
fearless expression of opinion, by all persons, on all 
occasions. No wise or philosophic i)erson would think 
of complaining of the diversities of sentiment it is like- 
ly to develop. Such diversities are the vital principle of 
free communities, and the only elements of popular 
intelligence. If the right to utter them is asserted by 
all and for all, tolerance is secured, and no inconve- 
nience results. It is probable that there were many 
persons here in 1G92 who doubted the propriety of 
the proceedings at their commencement, but who were 
afterwards prevailed upon to fall into the current and 
swell the tide. If they had all discharged their duty 
to their cou'itry and their consciences by freely and 
boldly uttering their disapprobation and declaring their 
dissent, who can tell but that the whole tragedy might 
have been prevented ? and, if it might, the blood of the 
innocent may be said, in one sense, to be upon their 

The leading features and most striking aspects of 





the witchcraft dehision have been repeated in i)laces 
where witclies and the interference of supernatural 
beings are never thought of: wlienever a connnunity 
gives way to its passions, and spurns tlic admonitions 
and casts cff the restraints of reason, there is a dehi- 
sion that can liardly l>e described in any otlicr })hrasc. 
We cannot glance our eye over tlie face of our country 
without beholding «uch scenes : and, so long as they 
are exhibited ; so long as we permit ourselves to invest 
objects of little or no real importance witli sucli an 
inordinate imaginary interest that we are ready to go 
to every extremity rather than relincpiish tliem ; so 
long as we yield to the impulse of passion, and plunge 
into excitement, and take counsel of our feelings ratlier 
than our judgment, — we are following in tlic footsteps 
of our fanatical ancestors. It would be wiser to direct 
our ridicule and reproaches to the delusions of our 
own times than to those of a previous age ; and it 
becomes us to treat with cliarity and mercy the fail- 
ings of our predecessors, at least until we liavc ceased 
to imitate and repeat them. 

It has been my olyect to collect and arrange all the 
materials witliin reach necessary to give a correct and 
ade(iuate view of the passage of liistory related and 
discussed in this work, and to suggest tlie considera- 
tions and conclusions required l)y trutli and justice. 
It is worthy of the most tlioughtful contemplation. 
Tlie moralist, mcta})liysician, and })olitical philoso})licr 
will find few clia])ters of human exj)erience more 
fraught with instruction, and may well ponder upon 

'*', ; \ 






il :> 


the lessons it teaches, scnitinize tliorou«i:hly all its 
periods, phases, and hranches, analyze its canscs, elim- 
inate its elements, and mark its developments. The 
laws, energies, capabilities, and liabilities of our na- 
ture, as cxhil)ited in the character of individuals and 
in the action c ' sooiet/, arc remarkably illustrated. 
The essential fa ^ 'jlV . ging to the transaction, gath- 
ered from authcni reco"''.< and reliable testimonies 
and traditions, have been liiithfully presented. The 
Witchcraft Delusion of 1G92, so far as I have been 
able to recover it from misunderstanding and oblivion, 
has been brought to view ; and I indulge the belief, 
that the subject will commend itself to, and reward, 
the study of every meditative mhid. 

I know not in what better terms the discussion of 
this suljjcct can be brought to a termination, than in 
those which express the conclusions to which one of 
our own most distinguished citizens was brought, after 
having examined the whole transaction with the eye of 
a lawyer and the spirit of a judge. The following is 
from the Centennial Discourse pronounced in Salem 
on the 18tli of September, 1828, by the late Hon. 
Josei)li Story, of the Supreme Court of the United 
States : — 

" We may lament, then," says he, " the errors of 
the times, which led to these prosecutions. But surely 
our ancestors had no special reasons for shame in a 
belief which had the universal sanction of their own 
and all former ages ; which counted in its train phi- 
losopliers, as well as enthusiasts ; which was graced 



l»y tlic learning of pi'oliitos, as well as by the couuto- 
iianco of kings ; wliicli tlio law snpportcd by its man- 
dates, and the pnrcst judges felt no compunctions iu 
enforcing. Let Witch Hill remain for ever memorable 
by this sad catastrophe, not to perpetuate our dishonor, 
l)ut as an atlbcting, enduring proof of human infirmity ; 
a proof that perfect justice belongs to one judgment- 
seat oidy, — that which is linked to the throne o^' 

In the work which has now reached its close, ma. / 
strange phases of humanity have l)een exi)osed. We 
have belield, with astonishment and horror, the exten^ 
to whicli it is liable to be the agent and victim of lu- 
sion and ruin. Folly that cannot be exceeded ; wrong, 
outrage, and woe, melting the heart that contemplates 
them ; and crime, not within our power or province 
to measure, — have passed l)efore us. But not tliO 
dark side only of our nature has been displayed. 
Manifestations of innocence, heroism, invincible devo- 
tion to truth, integrity of soul triumphing over all the 
terrors and horrois that can be accumulated in life 
and in death. Christian piety in its most heavenly radi- 
ance, have mingled in the drama, whose curtain is now 
to fall. Noble specimens of virtue in man and woman, 
old and young, have shed a light, as from above, u])on 
its dark and melancholy scenes. Not only the sutTer- 
ers, but some of those who shared the dread respon- 
sil)ility of the crisis, demand our commiseration, and 
did what they could to atone for their error. 

The conduct of Judge Sewall claims our ])articu- 







lar admiration. IIo observed annually in private 
a day of humiliation and prayer, durinj^ the re- 
mainder of his life, to keep fresh in his mind a sense 
of repentance and sorrow for the part he bore in 
the trials. On the day of the general fast, he rose 
in the })laee where he was accustomed to worship, the 
Old iSouth, in Boston, and, in the presence of the great 
assembly, handed up to the })ulpit a written confession, 
acknowledging the error into which he had been led, 
praying for the forgiveness of God and his })eoplc, and 
concluding with a recpiest to all the congregation to 
unite with him in devout supplication, that it might 
not bi'ing down the displeasure of the Most High 
upon his country, his family, or himself. He re- 
mained standing during the public reading of the 
paper. This was an act of true manliness and dignity 
of soul. 

The following passage is found in his diary, under 
the date of April 23, 1720, nearly thirty years after- 
wards. It was suggested by the perusal of Neal's 
" History of New England : " — 

" III Dr. Neal's ' History of New England,' its nakedness 
is laid open in the businesses of the Quakers, Anabaptists, 
witchcraft. The judges' names are mentioned p. 502 ; my 
confession, p. 530, vol. ii. The good and gracious God be 
pleased to save New England and me, and my family ! " 

There never was a more striking and complete fulfd- 
meut of the apostolic assurance, that the prayer of a 
righteous man availeth much, than in this instance. 
God has been pleased, in a remarkable manner, to 



savo and bless New Eiij^laiKl. The favor of IFeaveii 
was bestowed upon Judge Sewall during the remainder 
of liis life, lie presided for many years on the bench 
where he connnitted the error so sincerely deplored by 
him, and was regarded by all as a benefactor, an orna- 
ment, and a blessing to the comnumity : while his 
family have enjoyed to a high degree the protection 
of Providence from that day to this ; have adorned 
every j)rofession, and every dej)artment of society ; 
have fdled with honor the most elevated stations ; 
have graced, in successive generations, the same lofty 
scat their ancestor occupied ; and been the objects 
of the confidence, respect, and love of their fellow- 

Your thoughts have been led through scenes of the 
most distressing and revolting character. I leave be- 
fore your imaginations one bright with all the beauty 
of Christian virtue, — that which exhibits Judge Hewall 
standing forth in the house of his God and in the 
presence of his fellow-worshii)pers, making a iiublic 
declaration of his sorrow and regret for the mistaken 
judgment he had co-operated with others in pro- 
nouncing. Here you have a representation of a truly 
great and magnanimous spirit ; a spirit to which 
the divine influence of our religion had given an ex- 
pansion and a lustre that Roman or Grecian virtue 
never knew ; a spirit that had achieved a greater vic- 
tory than warrior ever won, — a victory over itself; 
a spirit so noble and so pure, that it felt no shame 
in acknowledging an error, and publicly imploring. 









for a groat wroiij^; dono to his folio w-croatu res, the 
IbrtiivcneHH of (Sod and man. 

Our Essex poot, wiioso houutiful genius has made 
classical the l)ank8 of his own Morriniac, shod a 
romantic light over the early homes and characters 
of New England, and hrought hack to life the spirit, 
forms, scenes, and men of the past, has not failed to 
immortali/,e, in his verse, the profound penitence of 
the misguided hut upright judge : — 

" Toufliing niul sad, a talo is told, 
Like a penitent hymn of tiie Psalmist old, 
Of the fast which the good man life-long kept 
With a haunting sorrow that never slept. 
As the circling year brought round the time 
Of an error that left the sting of crime, 
When he sat on the bench of the witchcraft courts, 
With the laws of Closes and ' Halo's TIeports,' 
And spake, in the name of both, the word 
That gave the witch's neck to the cord, 
And piled the oaken planks that pressed 
The feeble life from the warlock's breast ! 
All the day long, from dawn to dawn, 
His door was bolted, his curtain drawn ; 
No foot on his silent threshold trod, 
No eye looked on him save that of God, 
As lie baffled the ghosts of the dead with charms 
Of penitent tears, and prayers, and psalms, 
And, with precious proofs from the sacred Word 
(^f the boundless pity and love of the Lord, 
His faith confirmed and his trust renewed. 
That the sin of his ignorance, sorely rued, 
Might be washed away in the mingled flood 
Of his human sorrow and Christ' dear blood ! " 

S U 1> 1> L E :\[ E X T. 





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[Tlio suliject of Salem Witclioraft has been traced to its conclusion, and 
discussed witiiin its proper limits, in tho tore<roinj;j work. lUit whoever is 
interested in it as a chapter of history or an exiiiliitiipu of humanity may feel 
a curiosity, on some points, that reasonably demands gratilication. The 
questions will naturally arise, Wiio were the earliest to extricate themsi'lves 
and the public from the delusion V what is known, beyond the facts mentioned 
in the progress of the foregoinf; discussion, of the later fortunes of its )ironii- 
ncnt actors? what tiie view taken in the retrospect by individuals and ])ublic 
bodies implicated in the transaction? and what ojtinions on tlie jjeneral sub- 
ject have subsequently prevailed? To answer these questions is the design 
of this Supplement.] 

IT can liardly be said that tlicre was any open and aAowod oppo- 
sition in the coinmunity to the proeeedinfrs diirino; their early 
projrress. There is f«onie inieertainty and obseurity to what ex- 
tent there was an unexpressed dissent in th.' ininds of particular 
private persons. On the general sul)ject of the existence and 
power of the Devil and his airency, more or less, in intlucncing 
human and earthly all'airs, it ■\void<l be dillicult to prove that there 
was any considerable diilerence of opinion. 

The first undis«riused and uni'ipiivocal opposition to the pro- 
ceedings was a remarkable docinnent that has recently come to 
light. Among some pajicrs which have found their way to the 
custody of the Essi'x Institute, is a letter, dated " Salisbury, Aug. 
9, 1G1I2," addressed "To the worshipful flonathan Corwin, Esq., 
these pi'csent at his house in Salem." It is indorsed, "A letter 



i 1 




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to i'\v ijraiKlfatlu'i', f)n afcoiuit of tlic coiKli'iniiation of the Avilclio." 
Its date shows that it was written whih- tlic ])iil)lic iiii'atiiatioii and 
fury Avere at their height, and the Court was sentenein;; to death 
and sending to the gallows its successive cartloads. There is no 
injunction of secresy, and no shriid<ing from responsiliility. Al- 
though the name of the writer is not given in full, he was evidently 
"vvell known to Corwin, and had written t(J him before on the sub- 
ject. The messenger, in acc(jrdance with the supersei'iption, un- 
doubtedly delivered it into the hands of the Judge at his residence 
on the corner of Essex and Xorth Streets. The fact that Jonathan 
Corwin ])reserved this document, and ])Iaced it in the j)ermanent 
tiles of his family papers, is pretty good proof that he appreciated 
the weight of its arguments. It is not improl)able that he exj)ressed 
himself to that ellcct to his brethren on the bench, and j)erhaps to 
others. What he said, and the fact that he was holding such a 
correspondence, may have reached the ears of the accusers, and 
led them to commence a movement against him In' crying out upon 
his mother-in-law. 

The letter is a most able argument against the manner in which 
the' trials were conducted, and, by conclusive logic, overthi'ows the 
whole fid)ric of the evidence on the strength of which the Court 
was convicting and taking the lives of innocent persons. No such 
piece of reasoning l\i.-; come to us from that age. Its author nnist 
be acknowledged to have been an expert in dialectic subtleties, and 
a |)ure reasoner of unsurpassed aciunen and Ibrce. It ri'ipiires, 
but it will reward, the closest attention and concentrati(jn of 
thought in Ibllowing the threads of the argument. It reaches its 
conclusions on a most tliilicult suliject with clearness and certainty. 
It achieves and realizes, in mere mental processi's, cpuintities, and 
forces, on the points at which it aims, what is called demonstration 
in mathematics and geometry. 

The writer does not discredit, but seems to have received, the 
then prevalent doctrines relating to the personality, power, and 
attril)Utes of the iJevil ; and, from that standpoint, controverts 
and demolishes the principles on which the Court was jjroceeding, 
in relerenci! to the "spectral evidence'' and the credil)ility of the 
" alllicted children " generally. The letter, and tlie formal argu- 
nu'ut appended to it, arrest notice in one or two gt'ni'ral aspi'cts. 
There is an appearance of their having proceeded from an elderly 








.'s its 



•at ion 

, tlie 









person, not at all from any marks of infirmity of intellect, but 
ratlier from an air of wisdom and a tone of authority which can only 
rt'sult from long experience and observation. The circumstance 
that an amanuensis was employi-d, and the author writes the 
initials of his signature only, strengthens (his impi-ession. At 
the same time, there are indications of a frei' and prcjgiessive 
spirit, more likely to have had force at an earlier period ol' life. 
In some aspects, the document indicates a theological education, 
and familiarity with matters that belong to the stiulies of a minis- 
ter; in others, it manifests habits ol' mind and modes of expression 
and reasoning more natural to one accustomed to close legal state- 
ments and deductions. ]f the production of a trained professional 
man of either class, it woidd justly be regarded as remarkable. 
If its author belonged to neither class, but was merely a local magis- 
trate, farmer, and militia ollicer, it ])ecomes more than ri-markable. 
There must have been a high development among the founders of 
our villages, when the laity could present exampli's of such a ca- 
pacity to grasp the most diilicult subjects, and conduct such acute 
and abstruse discpiisitions. [See A})pendix.] 

The question as to the authorship of this paper may well excite 
interest, involving, as it does, minute critical speculations. The 
elements that enter into its solution illustrate the dilliculties and 
perplexities encompassing the study of local anticpiities, and at- 
tempts to determine the origin and bearings of old documents or to 
settle minute points of history. The weight of evidence si'cms to 
indicate that the document is a(tril)utable to 31ajor Robert Pike, of 
Salisbury, Whoever was its author did his duty nobly, and stands 
alone, a'oove all the scholars and educated men of the time, in bear- 
iuix testimonv or)enlv, l)ravelv, in tlie verv ears of the Court, ajjainst 
the disgraceful and shocking course they were pursuing.* 

* The filets and considerations in rel'erence to tlie aiitlioisiii|) of tlie letter 
to Jonathan Corwin may he summarily stated as folio\\s: — 

The letter is sillied '' K. P." Under these initials is written, " IJobert 
Pain,"' in a dilferent hand, and, as the ink as well as the eliini^raplii, shows, 
at a somewhat later date. 1!. P. are hlotted o\er, hut wish ink ol such 
li^'''iter hue that the oriyinai letters ari' eh'arly diseeriiiljle under it. A Koh- 
ert Paine graduated' at Harvard College, in 1650. lint he was prohahiy the 
foreman of the grand Jury that hrought in all the indietments in the witeh- 
cratt trials; and therefore could not, from the declarations in the letter itself, 
have heen its author. Tiie only other person of that name at the time, of 



'! ' 






t -» .■? f 



William Rrattlc, an eminent citizen and opnlunt mereliant of 
IJoston, and a ircntlenian of edueation and uncommon abilities, 
wrote a letter to an unknown correspondent of the clerical profes- 


whom we liavc kiiowIc(lf,^(', was his fatlu'r, wlio seems, hy tlu^ cvidenee we 
have, to have died in I'^iiS. (Tiiat date; is j^iven in tiie Harvard 'J"ri>'iiitial for 
tlie death (»(' Ilohert I'aine, tlie grachiate; but ernnieouslv, I tliink, as sij^na- 
tiires ((I ddeimients, and conveyances of property sul»se(|uently, can hardly ho 
ascribed to any other person.) Hobcrt Paine, the fat)>er, from tiie earliest set- 
tlement ol' Ipswich, had been one of tlie leading men of the town, apparently 
of lari^er pro])erty than any otlier, often its d''])uty in the (ieneral Court, and, 
tor a great length of time, ruling elder of the church. " .''-Ider Tain.' or I'enn, 
as the name was otten spelled, enjoyed the friendship of John Norton, and 
all i!u! ministers fai and near; and religious niei'tings were often held at his 
house We know notliing to justily us in saying that he ccudd not have been 
the author of this paper; but we also know notliing, except the appearance 
of his name upon it, to impute it to him. 

The document is dated from " Salisbury." So far as we know. Elder I'ainc 
always lived in Ipswich; although, having property in the upper county, he 
may have often been, and [lossihly in his last years resided, there. It is, it is 
true, a strong circumstance, that his name is written, although by a late hand, 
under the initials. It shows that the jierson who wrote it thought that '' K. P." 
meant Kot)ert Paine; but anj'one conversant especially with the anti(piities of 
Ipswich, or this part of the county, might naturally tall into such a mistake. 
The authorshiii of documents was often erroneously ascribed. The words 
•' Robert I'ain " were, probably, not on the paper when the indorsement was 
made, "A letter to my grandfather," &(■. Elder Robert I'aine, if living in 1G92, 
was nmety-one years of age. The document v b'l' consideration, it com- 
posed by him, is truly a marvellou.s production, .; • ntellectual phenomenon 
not easily to he paralleled. 

The facts in reference to Robert Pike, of Salisl)iiry, as they bear upon the 
question of the authorship of the document, are these: He was seventj'-six 
years of age in 1692, and had ahvays resided in " Salisburj-." The letter and 
argument are both in the handwriting of Captain Thomas Bradbury, Recorder 
of old Norfolk County. On this point, there can Ije no (piestion. Uradbury 
and Pike had been fellow-townsmen for. more than half a century, connected 
by all the ties of neighborhood and family intermarriage, and Jointly or alter- 
nately had borne all the civic and military honors the people could bestow. 
The document was prepared and delivered to the judge while Mrs. Bradbury 
was in jirison. and just one month before her trial. Pike, as has been shown 
(p. 22G), was deeply interested in her behalf. The original signature (" R. P.") the marked characteristics of the same initial letters as found in innu- 
merable aut..;;raplis of his, on tile or record. There are interlineations, be- 
yond (piestion in Pike's handivritiiig. These facts demonstrate that both 
Pike .m<' Bradbury were conc.nied in producing the document. 

'^ ^ f 'f. 



sion. in Octobor, 1002. Ti is an alilo criticifin upon the niotliods of 
])ro('('(liire at the trials, conch-nuiin^ thcin in the strongest lan- 
guage ; l/ut it was a conlidential conmuinication, and not published 


hem the 
Iter and 
I- iilter- 
kis, be- 
lt both 

Tlie liistorv of IJobcrt Pike proves that he was a man of ^reaf ability, liad 
a turn of mind towards loi^ical exercises, and was. trmn early lite, eoiiver- 
."sant with disputations. Nearly lit'ty years before, lie arj:iied in town-meeting 
af^aitist the propriety, in vit^w of ei\il and eeelesiastieal law, ot' certain acts 
f)f the (leneral Conrt. 'I'hey arraigned, disfranchised, and ofhc^rwise i)imished 
him for his " litij;iousness: " but the weij;ht of his clniracrer soon compelled 
them to restore his jiolitical ri),dits; and the people of ISalisbury, the very next 
year, sent him ainon;.? them as their deputy, and contimicd him from time to 
time in that capacity. At a subse([uent period, he was the leader and spokes- 
man of a jiarty in a controversy al)ont some ecclesiastical atl'airs, involvinjij 
apparently certain nice (piestimis of tlieoloe;y, which created a j^'reat stir through 
the country. The jontest reached so high a jioint, that the thureli at Salis- 
bmy exconnnimicated him; but the public voice demanded a council of 
churches, which assend)led in September, 107<i, and re-instated Major Pike, 
condemning his excommunication, '"tinding it not Justitiable ujion divers 
grounds." On this occasion, as betbr'', the (ieneral C 'urt frowned upon and 
denounced him; but the people came again to his rescue, sending him at the 
next election into the House of Deputies, and kept him there until raised to 
the Upper House as an Assistant. He was in tin; practice of conducting causes 
in the courts, and was long a local magistrate and one of the comity 

He does not appear to have been present at any of the trials or examina- 
tions of 1092; but his ofVicial ])Osition as Assistant I'aused many depositions 
taken in his neighborhood to be acknowIe(lgeil and sworn i)efore him. While 
entertaining the prevalent views about diabolical agency, lie always disap- 
proved of the i^roceedings of the Court in the particulars to which the argu- 
ments of the communication to .Toiiathan Corwin apply, — the "speitre 
evidence," — and the statements and actings of "the atilieted chihlren." 
There are indications that sometimes he saw through the folly of the stories 
told by persons whose depositions he was called to attest. One .lolin Pressy 
■was circulating a wonderful tale about an encounter he had with the spectre 
of Susanna Martin. Pike sent tor him, and took his deposition. Pressy 
averred, that, one evening, coming from Aniesbury [''cry, he fell in with the 
shape of Martin in the form of a body ot' light, which "seemed to be about 
the bigness of a half-bushel." After much dodging and nianaaivring, and 
being lost and bewildered, wandering to and fro, tumlding into holes, — where, 
as the deposition states, no "such )iitts"were known to exist, — and other 
misadventures, he came to blows with the light, and had several brushes with 
it, striki.ig if with his siii k. At one time, "he thinks he gave her iit least 
forty blows." He (inally succeeded in tinding " his own Inaise: but, b. ing 
, then seii5«d with feuf, couid not speak till his wife spoke to liim at the door, 



uiitii many years afterwards. IIo says that " tlie Avitclus' ineetiiifis, 
tlie Devil's l)ai)tisiiis and mock sacraments, which tlie accnsin<f and 
conli'ssinji' witches oft speak of, are nothinjf else l)iit the eft'eet of 
tiieir limey, depraved and deluded by the Devil, and not a reality 
to lie re<rarded or minded bv anv wise man." He eluum's the jndires 
with havinij taken testimonv lidm the Devil himself, throuHi wit- 
nesics who swore to what they said the Devil eonnminieated 
to them, thus indirectly introdiicin;;' tlie Devil as a witness; 
and he clinches the accusation by (juotinu; the judges themselves, 
who, when the accusing and coulessing witnesses contradicted each 
other, got over the diirundty by saying that the Devil, in such in- 
stances, took away the memory of some of them, Ibr the moment, 
o])scuring their brains, anil misleailing them, lie sums up this jjart 
of his reasoning in these Avords : "If it be thus granted that the 
Devil is able to represent lixlse ideas to the imaginations ol'the con- 
fessors, what man of sense will regard the confessions, or any of the 
words of these confessors ? " lie says that he knows several per- 
sons "about the Bay," — men, for understanding, judgment, and 
piety, inferior to few, if any, in New England, — that do utterly 
ccMidenm the >ii'u\ j)roceedings. He re[)udiat -i tlie idea that ISaleni 
was, in any sense, exclusively responsible for the transaction; and 
aflirms that " other justices in the country, besides the Salem jus- 

aiul was ill such a condition that tlio family was afraid of him; wliicli story 
beinj^ carried to the town tiic next (hiy, it was, u))on inquiry, iindorstood, that 
said (loodwifc Martin was i;' siuli a miserable ease and in such pain tliat tliey 
pwabhed lier body, as was rejmrted." lie voiieluihs his dtposition by saying, 
that Major Pilte " seemed to be troubled that tiiis deponent had not told him 
of it in season tliat she miglit have been viewed to have seen what her ail 
was." The atl'air iiad I'nppened '* about twenty-four years ago." Probably 
neither Pressy nor tlio Court appreciated the keenness of the major's expres- 
sion of regret. Tt broke the bultble of the d'.'position. The whole story was 
the product n a benighui'. imagination, disordered by fear, tilled witli inebri- 
ate vagaries, i,xag.i;erat-.'! ii nightmare, and resting upon wild and empty 
rumors. Kobert Pike';- course, in the ease of Mrs. Bradbury harmonizes with 
the sii]ii)osition tliat lie Av,a Co; rin's eonvspundeiit. 

ISlateriais may Ije bniuulit i" light that will ehaiige the evidence on the 
point. It may be found that Elder Paine died before 1092 : that would dispose 
of the (juestidU. It may apjiear that lie was living in Salisbury at the time, 
and acted \^''ih Pike and 'Sradbiiry, they giAiiig to the jiaper the authority of 
his venerable name and years. But all that is now known, constrains me to 
the conclision stats J in the text. 

, that 
r ail 







y of 

le to 



ticcs, have issued out tlicir warrants ; " and states, that, (if llic c'lLrlit 
" jmlgt'-., ;''»ni!iiissi()nf(l |()r tliis Court at Salem, live do i»i'loii;r to 
Su(It)lk County, lour oCwliich live do Ixdonji to l)o>tou, and tliero- 
f'ore I see no reason why IJoston should talk of Salem as tiiouuh 
their own JMd;;es had had no liand in these proceedinj^s in Sa- 

Tiiore is one vie\/ of the suliject, upon wliich Brattle presses 
witli murh force and severity. There is irround to suspect, that the 
proceeding's were sullered to fjo o!i alU-r some of those appearin<^ 
to countenance thein had ceased to have faith in tiie accusati(Mis. 
He cliarges, directly, compliriry in the escape of Mrs. Carey, yir^. 
Enj:;lish, Captain Alden, Hezekiah Cslier, and otiiers, upon tiic 
liiixli oflicials ; and says that while the evidence, upon wiiich .so 
many liad been imprisoned, sentenced, and executed, hore against 
Mrs. Thaclu'r, of Boston, slie was never proceeded ajxainst. " She 
was nnich comi)laiiu'd of l»y the afllicted persons, and yet the 
justices would not issue out their warrants to apprehend" her and 
certain others; while at the very same time they were issuin^j;, upon 
no better or other OTonnds, rrants a<rainst so manv others. He 
chart:;es the judj^es with tins most criminal fjivoritism. Tlie facts 
hardly justifv such an imputation iipon the judj^es. They did not, 
after the trials had beijun, it is probable, ever issue v.arrants : 
that was the function of maj^istrates. With the exception, per- 
haps, of Corwin, I think tlieve is no evidence of there havin;^ been 
any doul)ts or misgivings on the bench. It is altogether too heavy 
a charge to bring, without the strongest evidence, upon any one. 
To intimate tliat ollicials, or any ])ers(tns, who did not believe in 
the accusations, connived at the escapt' of their friends and rida- 
tives, and at the same time countenanced, pretended to believe, 
and gave deadly oU'ect to tliem wlien directed against others, is 
supposing a criminality and baseness too great to be rea<lily .'td- 
niitted. In that wild reign of the worst of passions, tliis would 
have transcended them all in its ini(pnty. Tiu; oidy excusable 
people at that time wen; those who honestly, and without a doubt, 
believed in tlu- guilt of the convicti'd. Those who had doubts, 
and did not frankly ami fearlessly express them, wen; the guilty 
ones. On their hands is the stain of the innocent blood that was 
shed. It is not probable, and is scarcely possible, that any consid- 
erable number could be at once doidjters and prosecutors. On this 



'8 i 










point, lirattlo must he uiuU'rstood to mean, not that judges, or 
otliiTs actively cnj^ag*'*! in tlio prosucutions, Avardcd oil' procct'd- 
iiii^s against pai'ticiilar iricnds or rclativis from a principle! of 
dflihcratc liivoritisni, hut that third parties, actuated hy a syco- 
j)iiautic spirit, endeavored to hush up or intercept complaints, 
when directed too near to the high ollicials, or thought to gain 
their favor Ity aiding the escape of jiersons in whom they were 

lirattle uses the same weapon which afterwards the opjionents 
of Mr. I'arris, in his church at Salem Village, wielded with such 
decisive ellc'ct against him and all who abetted him. It is much 
to be lamented, that, instead of hiding it under a confidential Icrter, 
he did not at the time opeidy bring it to bear in the most public 
and defiant manner. One brave, strong voice, uttered in the face 
of the court and hi the congregations of the people, echoed from 
the corners of the streets, and reaching the ears of the governor 
and magistrates, denouncing the entire proceedings as the dam- 
nable crime of familiarity with evil spirits, and sorcery of the 
blackest dye, might perhaps have recalled the judges, tli(! jieople, 
ami the rulers to their senses. If the spirit of the ancient prophets 
of God, of the (Quakers of the preceding age, or of true reform- 
ers of any age, had existed in any breast, the experiment Avould 
have been tried. Brattle says, — 

" I cannot but admire that any should go with tlicir distempered 
friends and relations to tlie afflicted children, to know what thci^ dis- 
tempered friends ail, wlictiier they are not bewitched, wlio it is that 
afflicts tliem, and the like. It is true, I know no reason wliy these 
afflicted may not be consulted as well as any other, if so be that it Avas 
only their natural and ordinary knowledge that was had recourse to : 
but it is not on this notion that these afflicted children are sought unto, 
but as they have a supernatural knowledge ; a knowledge which they 
obtain by their holding correspondence with spectres or evil spirits, as 
they tliemselves grant. This consulting of these afflicted children, 
as abovesaid, seems to me to be a very gross evil, a real abomination, 
not fit to be known in New England; and yet is a thing practised, not 
only by 'Tout nnd./olni, — I mean the rude and more ignorant sort, — 
but by many who profess higli, and pass among us for some of the 
better sort. This is that wliich aggravates the evil, and makes it 
heinous and tremendous ; and yet this is not the worst of it, — for, as 












L>s it 
r, as 



sure iis I now write to you, oven some of our eivil K'ailers and spiritual 
teaehers, wlio, I tiiiiik, sliouiil punish anil preacli (hiwn sueh .>s()iciTy 
and witkedness, do yet allow of, eiicouraye, yea, and practise, liiis 
very abomination. I know there are several worthy ^'entiemcn in 
Salem who aceouiit tliis jtrnetiee as an ahnmination, have trcmhk'd to 
see the methods of this nature wliich otliers liave used, and have de- 
clared themselves to tliiiik the i)raetiee to he very evil and corrupt. 
But all avails little with the abettors of the said practice." 

](' Mr. Brattle and the "several worthy jxentlcmeii "' to whom 
he alludes, instead of sitting in " treml)liii;,'"' silence, or wiiisper- 
in<jj in private their disapprobation, or wihin;;- letter^ under the in- 
junction ol' secrecy, had come I)uhlly out, and deiioiinced the whole 
thiu}^, in a spirit of true courage, meetinj^ and defving the risk, 
and carrying the war home, and promptly, uj)on tlii' ministers, 
nia!j;i.strates, atul jud<j;i*s, they mi;;lit have succeeded, and exploded 
the delusion before it had reached its fatal results. 

He mentions, in the course ol' his li'tter, among those person.s 
known by him to disajjprove of the procei'dings, — 

"The Hon. Simon IJradstreet, Esq. (our late governor), the Hon. 
Thomas Danforth, Esq. (our late (le|)uty-governor), the He v. ^Ir. 
Increase Mather, and the l{ev. Mr. Samuel Willard. Major N. Sal- 
tonstall, Esq., who was one of the judges, has left the court, and is 
very much dissatisfied with the proceedings of it. Excepting Mr. 
Hale, Mr. Noyes, and ]Mr. Parris, the reverend elders, almost through- 
out the whole country, are very much dissatisfied. Several of the 
late justices — viz., Thomas Graves, Esq.; N. Byfield, Esq.; Erancis 
Foxcroft, Esq. — are much dissatisfied; also several of the present 
justices, and, in particular, some of the Boston justices, were resolved 
rather to throw up their commissions than be active in disturbing the 
liberty of Their INIajesties' subjects merely on the accusations of these 
afflicted, possessed children." 

It is to be observed, that the dissatisfaction was with some of 
the methods adopted in the ])roceediugs, and not with the prosecu- 
tions themselves. Increase Mather and Samuel ^Villard signed 
the paper indorsing Deodat Lawson's famous sermon, which surely 
drove on the prosecutions; and the l()rnu'r ex[)ressed, in print, 
his approbation of his son Cotton's " Wonders of the Iuvisii)le 
World," in whicii he labors to defend the witchcraft prosecutiiuis, 
and to make it < iit that those who sull'cred were "malefactors." 



i Ir' 


) ( 


■I 4- 





Dr. Tncroaso Alaflior is uiKlcrstnnd to liavo rniinton.incod the 
Ixiniiiii;- (iCCalcrs hook, sonic few years aftrrwartis, in tlu! s(|iian' 
of till' j)iil)lic j^romids oC Ilarvanl Collci::!', ol" which institution hi; 
was then prcsich'iil. I( cannot hv donlttcd, however, that hofh the 
ohler ISIather and Mr. Wiilard had oxpressed, more or h'ss dis- 
tinctly, tiieir disapprobation of sonic of the (h'tails of tlie jirocced- 
inujs. It is hono"al>h' to their ineniories. and shows lliat the Cornier 
was not wholly blindi'd Ity jjarental weakness, but williuj^ to ex- 
press liis dissent, in some, jiarliciilars, from the course of his 
distiiij.niislied son, and that the latter had an independence of 
character which enal)k'd him to critK'ise and censure a court in 
which three of his ])arishioners sat as judifcs. 

IJraltli! relates a story which seems to indicate that Increase 
blather sometimes was un<:;uarded enough to e.\[)ress himself with 
severity aj,Minst those who frave countenance to the proceedings. 
" A person from Boston, of no small note, carried iij) his child 
to Salem, near twenty miles, on purjiose that he mijxht cf)nsult the 
adlictetl about his child, which accordin;rly he (b'd ; and the alllictod 
told hiin that his child was alllicted by Mrs. Carev and ]\Irs. Obin- 
son." The " afllicted," in this and some other instances, had struck 
too high. The magistrates in Boston were unwilling to issue a 
warrant against Mrs. Obinson, and Mrs. Carey had fled. All 
that the man got for his pains, in carrying his child to Salem, was 
a hearty scoldinjjr from Increase Mather, who asked him "wluther 
there Avas not a (lod in Boston, that he should go to the Devil, in 


c;,,, ior u.lvice." 

Bradstreet's great age prevented, it is to be supposed, his 
public appearance in the affair; l)ut his course in a case which 
occurred twelve years befon; fiiily iustifies confidence in the 
statement of Brattle. The tradition has always prevailed, that 
he looked with disapprobation upon the proceedings, from be- 
ginning to end. The course of his sons, and the action taken 
against them, if (piite decisive to the point. 

Fa<'ts have bcv'n stated, which show that Thomas Danforth, if 
he disapproved of the ])roceedings at Salem, in October, must 
have undergone a ra])id change of sentiments. Xo irregularities, 
improjirieties, extravagances, or absurdities ever occuiTcd in the 
examinations or trials greater than he was fully res])onsible for in 
April. Having, in the mean while, been superseded in otTice, he 







1, if 


had h'isiirc, in his rctircinciit, to think over the whoh' matter; 
and it is .<atisfa(t(irv to (iiid that lie saw the cri'or of tin- wavs iti 
which he liad ;:on(' himscH', and hd otiicrs. 

Tlu! result of tlif in(|iiiry on this point is, that, wliilr sonic, out- 
side of tiic viUa;:(', \u"^i\n early to doiilit the propriety of the 
procccdinii's in certain particnlars, they failed, with the sin<.de ex- 
ception of IJohert I'ike, to make manly and seasonalile resistance. 
lie remonstrated in a writin;^ signed with his own initials, and 
while the execiitioiis were "diiiir on. lie sent it to one oC the 
ju(I;^es, and did not shrink from havin<f liis aethni known. No 
other voice was raised, no one else breasted the storm, while it 
lasteil. The errors which led to the dehision were not attacked 
from any (luarter at any time dnrinjr that jreneration, and have 
remained lurking' in many minds, in a greater or less (le<^ree, to 
our day. 

There were, hnw^^ver, three persons in Salem Village! ami Its 
immediate vicinity, who deservi- to he for ever rememhercd in 
this eonnection. They resisted the fanaticism at the l)eu;inning, 
and defied its wrath. .Joseph Putnam was a little more than 
twenty-two years of agt'. He prolialily did not enter into the 
question of the doctrines then maintained on such snlijects, but 
was led by his natural sagacity ami inde])endent spirit to the 
course he took. In opposition to both his brothers and both his 
uncles, and all tlm rest of his powerful and extensive family, he 
denounced the proceedings through and through. At the very 
moment when the excitement was at its most terrible stage, and 
iNIr. Parris held the lile of every one in his hands, .loseph Putnam 
expressi'd his disapprobation of his conduct by carrying his infant 
child to the church in Salem to be baptize<l. This was a public 
and most significant act. For six months, hv. kept some one of 
his horses under saddle night and day, without a moment's in- 
termission of the precaution ; and he and his fiimily were constantly 
armed. It Avas understood, that, if any one attempteil to arrest 
him, it would be at the peril of life. If the marshal should ap- 
proach with overwhelming force, he would spring to his saddle, 
and bid defiance to pursuit. Such a course as this, taken by ono 
standing alone against the whole community to which he Ixdongcd, 
shows a degree of courage, spirit, and resolution, which cannot Init 
be held in honor. 




n. V'. , 

I; Mi 

(^ 41- 


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WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(716) 873-4S03 






Martlia Corey was an aged Cliristian professor, of eminently 
devout habits and prineiples. It is, indeed, a strange faet, that, 
in licr hiiuihle lionie, surrounded, as it then was, by a Aviklerness, 
this husbandman's wife sliould have reaehed a lieight so above and 
beyond her ag(!. lint it is proved eonelusively by the depositions 
addueed against her, that her mind was wholly disenthralled from 
the errors of that period. She utterly rrpudiated tlie doetrines of 
■witeheraft, and expressed herself lively and feai'lessly against 
them. The prayer whieh this woman made "upon the ladder,*' 
and whieh produeed sueh an impression on those who heard it, was 
undoubtedly expressive of enlightened piety, worthy of being ehar- 
aeterized as "eminent" in its sentiments, and in its demonstration 
of an innoeent heart and life. 

The following paper, in the handwriting of Mr. Parris, is among 
the oourt-fdes. Jt has not the ordiuary form of a deposition, but 
somehow was sworn to in Court : — 

" The morning after the examination of Goody Nurse, Sam. Sibley 
met John Procter about Mr. Plnliips's, who called to said Sibley as lie 
was going to said Pliillips's, and asked liow the folks did at the village. 
lie answered, he heard they were very bad last night, but he had heard 
nothing tiiis morning. Procter replied, he was going to fetch home his 
jade ; he letl lier there last niglit, and liad rather given forty shillings 
than let her come up. Said Sibley asked why he talked so. Procter 
replied, if they were let alone so, we sliould all be devils and witches 
quickly ; they should rather be had to the wliipping-post ; but he would 
fetch his jade home, and tbrasii the Devil out of her, — and more to the 
like purpose, crying, ' Ilang them ! hang them ! ' " 

In another document, it is stated that Nathaniel Ingersoll and 
others heard John Procter tell Joseph Pope, " that, if he had John 
Indian in his custody, he would soon beat the Devil out of him." 

The declarations ♦iin ■ ascribed to John Procter show that his 
views of the subject were about right ; and it will probably be gene- 
rally conceded, that the treatment he proposed for IVIary "Warren 
and "John Indian," if dealt out to the " alllicted children" gen- 
erally at the outset, would have prevented all the mischief. A 
sound thrashing all round, seasonably administered, would have 
reached the root of the matter ; and the story which has now been 
concluded of Salem witchcraft would never have been told. 

When the witchcraft tornado burst upon Andover, it prostrated 




' geii- 
liief. A 
lid have 
ow been 


everv tliinj; before it. Aceusers and aroused were eountcd bv 
seores, and under the panie of the hour the aceused generally 
confessed. But Andover was the first to reeover its senses. On 
the 12th of Oetolter, 1GD2, seven of its citizens addressed a memo- 
rial to the General Court In behalf of their wives and ehildren, 
praying that they might be released on bond, "to remain as 
prisoners in their own houses, where they may be more tenderly 
cared for." They speak of their "distressed condition in jjrison, 
— a company of poor distressed creatures as full of inward grief 
and trouble as they are able to bear up in life withal." 1 lii-y 
refer to the want of " food convenient" for them, and to " the cold- 
ness of the Avinter season that is coming which may di'spatch suih 
out of the way that have not been used to such hardships," and 
represent the ruinous effects of their absence from their families, 
who were at the same time required to maintain them in jail. On 
the 18th of October, the two ministers of Andover, Francis Dane 
and Thomas Barnard, with twenty-four other 'Itizens of Andover, 
addressed a similar memorial to the Governor and General Court, 
in which Ave find the first public expression of condenmation of 
the proceedings. They call the accusers "distempered persons." 
They express the opinion that their friends and neighbors have 
been misrepresented. They bear the strongest testimony in favor 
of the pi'rsons accused, that several of them are memlx-rs of the 
church in full communion, of blameless conversation, and " walk- 
ing as becometh women professing godliness." They relate the 
methods by which they had been deluded and terrified into con- 
fession, and show the worthlessness of those confessions as evi- 
dences against them. They use this bold and significant language : 
" Our troubles Ave foresee are likely to continue and increase, if 
other methods be not taken than as yet have been ; and av(! knoAv 
not Avho can think himself safe, if the accusations of children and 
others Avho are under a diabolical influence shall be received 
against persons of good fiune." On the 2d of January, lOli.'J, 
the Rev. Francis Dane addressed a letter to a brother cler<f\inan, 
Avhich is among the files, and Avas probably designed to reach the 
eyes of the Court, in Avhich he vindicates Andover against the 
scandalous reports got up by the accusers, an<l says tliat a resi- 
dence there of forty-four years, and intimacy Avith the ])eoi)le, 
enable him to declare that they are not justly chargeable Avith any 





such tilings iis witclicraft, cliarius, or sorocrios of any kind. lie 
expresses liimself in stronjj; language: "Had cliarity been jmt 
on, the Devil would not have luul such an advantage against us; 
and I believe many iiiuoceut persons have been accused and 
imprisoned.''' He denounces "the conceit of spectre evidence," 
and warns against continuing in a course of proceeding tliat will 
procure " tlic diviiu' displeasure."' A paper signed by Dudley 
l^radstreet, Francis Dam*, Thomas liarnard, and thirty-eight other 
men and twelve wonien of Andover, was presented to the Court 
at Salem to the same elfect. 

None of the j)ersons named l>y Brattle can present so strong a 
claim to the credit of having opposed the witchcrad fanaticism 
before the close of the year 16II2, as Francis Dane, his colleague 
IJarnard, and the c-itizens of Andover, who signed memorials to the 
Legislature on tiie bsth of October, and to the Court of Trials about 
the same time. There is, indeed, one conclusive proof that the 
venerable senior pastor of the Andover Church made his disappro- 
bation of the witchcraft proceedings known at an earlier jieriod, 
at lea^'t in his immediate neighborhood. The wrath of the ac- 
cusers was concentrated upon him to an unparalleled extent from 
their entrance into Andover. Thev did not venture to attack him 
directly. His veneralde age and couunanding position made it 
inexpedient ; but they strui-k as near him, and at as many points, 
as they dared. They accused, imprisoned, and caused to bo con- 
victed and sentenced to death, one of his daughters, Abigail 
Faulkner. They accused, imprisoned, and brought to trial another, 
Elizabeth Johnson. They imprisoned, and brought to the sentence 
of death, his grand-daughter, Elizal)eth Johnson, Jr. They cried 
out against, and caused to be imprisoned, several others of his 
grandchildren. They accused and imprir^ned Deliverance the 
wife, and also the " man-servant," of his son Nathaniel. There 
is reason for supposing, as has been stated, that Elizabeth How 
was the wife of his nephew. Surely, no one was more signalized 
by their malice and resentment than Francis Dane ; and he 
deserves to be recognized as stan<ling pre-eminent, and, for a 
time, almost alone, in bold denunciation and courageous resist- 
ance of the execral)le prof ,'edings of that dark day. 

Francis Dane made the following statement, also designed to 
reach the authorities, which cannot be read by any person of sen- 




led to 
if scu- 

8il)ility witlioiit A'clin;; its forte, iilthoiijih it inado no impression 
upon the Court at the time : — 

" Concerning my daujjhter Klizaheth Jolmson, I never liad <,'r()im(l 
to suspect her, neitlier liave I lieanl any other to accuse lier, till by 
spectre evidence she was brought forth ; but this I must say, site was 
weak, and incapacious, fearful, and in that respect I fear slie hath 
falsely accused herself and others. Nut long before she was sent for, 
she spake as to her own particula", that she was sure she was no 
witeli. Anil for her daughter Elizabeth, she is hut simplisli at the 
best ; and I fear the conunon speech, that was frecpiently<l among 
us, of their liberty if they woulu confess, and the like expression 
used by some, have brought many into a snare. The Lord direct and 
guide those that are in place, and give us all subnussive wills ; and let 
the Lord do with me and mine what seems good in his own eyes ! " 

There is nothing in the j)roc<'eding.s of tlie Special Court of 
Over and Terniiner more di.sjrraceful than the fact, that tiie ri'gu- 
lar Court of Superior Judicature, the next year, alter the public 
mind had been rescued from the didusion, and the spectral evi- 
dence repudiated, proceeded to try thc^ic and other persons, and, 
in the face of such statenienta as the foregoing, actually con- 
dennied to death Elizabeth Johnson, Jr. 

It IS remarkable that Brattle does not mention Calef. The 
understanding has been that thev actv .1 in concert, and that Brattle 
hail a h;.Md in getting up some of Calef's arguments. The silence 
of Brattle is not, upon the whole, at all inconsistent with their 
nuitual action and alliance. As Calef was more perfectly unem- 
barrassed, without personal relations to the clergy and others in 
high station, and not afraid to stand in the gap, it was thought 
best to let him take the fire of Cotton blather. His name had 
not been connected with the matter in the public ai)prehension. 
He was a merchant of Boston, and a son of Robert Calef of 
Roxburv. His attention was called to the i)roceedin<xs which orijji- 
nated in Salem Village ; and his strong faculties and moral courage 
enabled him to become the most cllicient oj)ponent, in his day, 
of the system of false reasoning upon which the prosecutions 
rested. He prepared several at)le papers in diiferent forms, in 
which he discussed the subject witli great ability, and treated 
Cotton Mather and all others whom he regarded as instru- 
mental in precipitating the conununity hito the liital tragedy. 




1 '. 

i ; 


with tlio f^oatost severity of Lin^uago and force of logic, holding 
up the whole procedure to merited condemnation. They were 
first printed, at London, in 1700, in a small (piarto volume, under 
the title of " More Wonders of the ]nvisil)le World." This pub- 
lication burst like a bomb-shell upon all who had been con- 
cerned in pnjmoting the witchcraft prosecutions. C'otton Mather 
was exasperated to the highest pitch. He says in his diary : " He 
sent this vile volume to London to be published, and the book is 
printed ; and the impre.'sion is, this day week, arrived here. The 
books that I liave gent over into England, with a design to glorily 
the Lord Jesus Christ, arc not published, but strangely delayed ; 
and the books that are sent over to vilify me, and render me in- 
capable to glorify the Lord Jesus C'hrist, — these are published." 
Calef's writings gave a shock to Mathe/s intluence, from which it 
never recovered. 

Great difliculty has been experienced in drawing the story out 
in its true chronological se(pience. The effect produced upon the 
public mind, when it became convinced that the proceedings had 
been wrong, and innocent blood shed, was a universal disposition 
to bury the recollection of the whole transaction in silence, and, if 
pos£il)le, oblivion. This led to a suppression and destruction of 
the ordinary materials of history. Papers were abstracted from 
the files, documents in private hands were committed to the flames, 
and a chasm left in the records of churches and public bodies. 
The journal of the Special Court of Oyer and Terminer is no- 
where to be found. Hutchinson appears to have had access to it. 
It cannot Avell be supposed to have been lost by fire or other acci- 
dent, because the records of the regular Court, up to the very time 
when the Spi'cial Court came into operation, and from the time 
when it expired, are preserved in order. A portion of the papers 
connected ^^jth tiie trials have come down in a miscellaneous, 
scattered, and dilapidated state, in the ofHces of the Clerk of the 
Courts in the County of Essex, and of the Secretary of the Com- 
monwealth. By far the larger part have been abstracted, of which 
a few have been deposited, by parties into whose hands they had 
happened to come, with the Massachusetts Historical Society in 
Boston and the Essex Institute at Salem. The records of the par- 
ish of Salem Village, although exceedingly well kept before and 
after 1G92 by Thomas Putnam, arc in another hand for that 



year, very brief, and make no rcfen-iwc whatover lo tin; wilch- 
cralt transactions. This jrcni'ral (U'siri' to obliterate the memory 
of the calamity has nearly extinguished tradition. Tt is more 
scanty and less reliable than on any other event at an e<inal dis- 
tance in the past. A subject on which men avoided to spi-ak soon 
died out of knowledfije. The localities of many very inlerestiii;^ 
incidents cannot l)e identified. This is very observable, and [)ecu- 
liarly remarkable as to places in the now City of Salem, 'i'he 
reminiscences floating about are vague, contradictory, and few in 
number. In a community of unconnnon intelligence, conqjosed, to 
a greater degree perhaps than almost any other, of families that have 
been here from the first, very incpiisitive for knoAvledge, and always 
imbued with the historical spirit, it is truly surprising how little 
has been borne down, by speech and memory, in the form of an- 
ecdote, personal traits, or local incidents, of this most extraor- 
dinary and wonderful occurrence of such world-wide celebrity. 
Almost all that we know is gleaned from the oflices of the Regis- 
try of Deeds and Wills.* 

* As an ilhistration of the obli\i(>n that had settled over the details of tlic 
transactions and characters connected witli the witchcraft prosecutions, it may 
be mentioned, that when, thirty-five years aj^o, I prepared the work entitled 
"Lectures on Witchcraft; comprising a History of the Delusion in 1092," al- 
though professional engagements prevented my making the elaborate exjilora- 
tion tluu has now been given to the subject, I extended tlie investigation over 
the ordinary fields of research, and took particular pains to obtain informa - 
tion brought down by tradition, gleaned all that could be gatlurcd from the 
memories of old persons then living of what they had heard from their prede- 
cessors, and sought for every thing that local antiquaries and genealogists could 
contribute. I find, by the methods of inquiry adopted in the preparation of 
the present work, how inadequate and meagre was the knowledge then pos- 
sessed. IMost of the persons accused and executed, like Giles Corey, his wile 
Martha, and Bridget Bishop, Avere supposed to have been of humble, if not 
mean condition, of vagrant habits, and more or less despicable repute. By 
following the threads placed in my hands, in the files of the county-oflices of 
Registry of Deeds and Wills, and documents connected with trials at law, and 
by a collation of conveyances and the administration of estates, I find that 
Corey, however eccentric or open to criticism in some features of character 
and passages of his life, was a liirge landholder, and a man of singular force 
and acuteness of intellect; while his wife had an intelligence in advance of 
her times, and was a woman of eminent piety. The same is found to have been 
the cast with most of those who suffered. 

The reader may judge of my surprise in now discovering, that, while 






nil t» 



It is rcmarkiihlc, that tlio murslial and slicrKf, botli quito young 
men, so soon Iblluwefl tlu'ir victliiis to the otlicr worhl. tlonathnn 
AVah'ot, the liithcr oI'Marv, and next ncij^hhor to Parris, n-inovt'd 
from the villa;,'(', and died at Salem in lODI*. Tliomas Putnam 
and Ann his wife, the parents of the " alllieted (•hiM," who 
aeted so extraordinary a i)art in the jji'oceedings and oi' whom 
further mention will he made, died in IG'JO, — the former on the 
24th of May, the latter on the Sth of June, — at the respective 
ages of Ibrty-seven and thirty-eight.* There are indications that 
they saw the errors into which they liad lieen led. If their eyes 
were at all opened to this view, how terrible nuist have been the 
thought of the cruel wrongs and wide-spread ruin of which they 
had been the cause! Of the circumstances of their deaths, or 
their last words and sentiments, we have no knowledge. It la 
not strange, that, in addition tc all lier woes, the death of her 
husband was more than Mrs. Ann Putnam could bear, and that 

writing the " Lectures on Witchcraft," I was owning and occupying a part of 
the estate of IJridijet Hishop, if not actually living in her house. The hard, 
impc'ictralile, all but pctritied oak frame seems to argue that it dates back 
as far as when she rebuilt and renewed the original structure. Little, how- 
ever, did I sus|)eet, while delivering those lectures in the Lyceum II ill, that 
we were assendiled on the site of lier orchard, the scono of the iircter latural 
and diabolical feats charged upon lier by the te: timo.'V of Louder and 
others. Her estate was one of the most eligible ai\d vt'.uable in the old 
town, with a front, as lias been mentioned, of a hundred <jet on Washington 
Street, and extending along Church Street more than half the distance to 
St. Peter's Street. At the same time, her husband seems to have had a house 
in the village, near the head of IJass Kiver. If is truly remarkable, that the 
locality of the propertj' and residence of a person of her position, and svho led 
the way among the victims of such an awful tragedy, should have become 
wholly obliterated from memory and tradition, in a comniunity of such intelli- 
gence, consisting, in so large a degree, of old families, tracing themselves 
back to the earliest generations, and among whom the innumerable descend- 
ants of her seven great-grandchildren have continued to th's day. It can only 
be accounted for by the considerations mentioned in the text. Tradition was 
stifled by horror and shame. What all desired to tbrget was forgotten. 
The only recourse was in oblivion ; and all, suH'erers and actors alike, found 
shelter under it. 

* The loot eness and inaccuracy of persons in reference to their own ages, in 
early times, is (piite observable. In depositions, they speak of themselves as 
"about" so many jears, or as of so many j'ears "or thereabouts." A 
variance on this point is often found in the statements of the same person 

lor and 
tlie old 

nice to 
a house 
at the 
ho led 




an only 
ition was 

e, found 


af;cp, in 
selves as 
ts." A 
e person 



she followed him so so.">n to the ;jrravo. Of the otluT accusers, 
wo have hut little iii(l>ruiatioii. Kii/al>etli Uooth was niarried to 
Israel Siiaw about tiie year 17(it>. Mary Walcot was married, 
somewhere Itetweeii 1(1112 and I(!!>7, to a person I)elon;::iii;f t<i Wo- 
buru, whose name is torn or worn oil' I'rom Mr. I'arris's reciU'ds. 
Of the other " afllieted cli'ldreii" nothin;; is known, bevond tho 
fact, that the Act of thj Le;^islature of tae Province, revt'rsinj; 
the judgments, takiu" oil" the attainder from thos^ wiio were 
senteniM'd to fleatli in HW'2, has this paraj^rapli : " Some of the 
principal accusers and witnci-ses in tliosi; dark and severe proseeu- 
tions have since discovered themselves to be persons of proliijiate 
and vicious eonversation ;" and ("alef speaks of tiiem as "vile 
varlets," and asserts that their reputations were not witiiout spot 
before, and that subsetpiently they became abandoned to open 
and shah;'- less vice. 

A very consick-rable number of the people left the place. Jolm 
Shepard antl Samuel Sibley sold their lands, and went elsewhere ; 
as did Peter Cloyse, who never brought his family to the village 
after his wife's release from prison. Edward and Sarah Hishop 
sold their estates, and took up their abode at Ilehoboth. Some 
of the Ilavinond familv removv-d to ^liddleborough. The Ilavnes 
familv emi";rated to New Jersev. No mention is afterwai'ds (bund 
of other families in the record-books. The descendants of Thomas 
and Edward Putnr.m, in the next generation, were mostly dis- 

at differ?nt times. Neither are records always to be relied upon as to pre- 
cision. Ill tiic record-book of the villayje church, Mr. Parris enters the age 
of Mrs. Ann Putnam, at the date of her admission, .luiie 4, lOlil, as "Aim: 
a'tat: 27." But an "Account :^f the Early Settlers of Salisbury," in the 
"New-England Historical and Genealogical Register," vol. vii. p. 314, gives 
the date of her liirtli " 15,4, 1661." Her age is stated above according to 
this last authority; and, if correct, she was not so young, at the time of her 
marriage, as intimated (vol. i. p. 25.3), but seventeen years five months and 
ten da^s. It is difHcult, Iiowcn er, to conceive how Parris, who was careful 
about such ni tters, and undoubtedly had his inibrmation from her own lips, 
could have been so far out of tlie way. Iler brother, William Carr, in lfiy2, 
deposed that he was then forty -erne years of age or thereabouts; whereas, 
the "Account of the Early Settlers of Salisbury," Just referred to gives the 
date of his birtii " 15, 1, 1648." It is iiuLed singular, that two members of 
a family of their standing should have been under an error as to their own 
age; one to an extent of almost, the other of some mouths more than, 
three years. 







pcrsfd to otlior i)laor.s ; Imt tlioso of Joscpli roinalncd on Ms lands, 
and liav(! occupied his linnicHtcad to this <hiy. It is a siii^jidur 
circuinstancc, that soiuo of tho spots where, ]>artii'ularly, the 
preat mischief was hrewecl, are, antl lonji; have lieen, (U-serted. 
AVIiei-e th(! par.-'onajri! stood, witli its ])arn and panh-n and well 
and j)athways, is now a hare and nifr'red field, without a vestij^e 
of its fnnner occupancy, except a few Itrokfui hricks that mark the 
site of the house. The sann; is the case of the homestead of .Jona- 
than Walcot. It was in these two families that the alfair lic;^an 
ond was matured. The spots where several others, who fi;jured 
in the proceedinj^s, lived, have ceased to he occupied ; and the 
only si<jfns of former haliitatiou are hollows in the <;round, ihv^- 
ments of pottery, ami hea))s of stones denotin;^ the location of 
cellars and walls. Here and there, where houses and other strue- 
tures once stood, the blij^ht still rests. 

Some circumstances relating to the personal history of those 
who experienced the jjreatest misery during the prevalence of the 
dreadful fanaticism, and wi're led to mourn over its victims, have 
happened to be preserved in records and documents on tile. On 
the 30th of November, 101t(», ^Targaret Jacobs was married to 
John Foster. She belonged to Mr. Noyes's parish ; but the recol- 
lection of his agency in jHishing on j)ro('eedings which carried in 
their train the execution of her aged grandfather, the exile of her 
father, the long imprisonnu'nt of her mother and herself, with the 
prospect of a violent and shamefid death hanging over them every 
hour, and, above all, her own wretched abandonment of truth and 
conscience for a while, probably under his persuasion, made it 
impossible for her to think of being married by him. ]\Ir. Greene 
was known to sympathize with those who had suflered, and the 
couple went to the village to be iniited. So*.ie years afterwards, 
when the church of the JNIiddle Precinct, novr South Danvers, was 
organized, John and INfargaret Foster, among the first, took their 
children there for baptism ; and their descendants are numerous, 
in this neighborhood and elsewhce. Margaret, the widow of 
John Willard, married William Towne. Elizabeth, the widow 
of .John Procter, married, subsecpiently to 1G96, a person name(l 
Richards. Edward Bishop, the husband of Bridget, a few years 
afterwards was appointed guardian of Susannah ]\Iason, the oidy 
child of Christian, who was the only child of Bridget by her 



foriiuT liushaiul Tliomas Oliver. lii.sliop solmus to liavo invi'sti'd 
the inoin'V of lii.s wanl in tlie lot at the fxtrcmt' ciul of Forn'.-'ti'r 
Street, where it (•«iiiiec(,s with Kssex Street, hoiiiuh-il liy Tor- 
re.xter Street on the north and east, ami Essex Street on tlie 
south. 'J'his was the property of Susannah wlien she married 
John Ueeket, Jr. I)ishi>i) appears to have eontinued his Imsi- 
ness of a sawyer to a very advanced age, and died in Salem, in 

Sarah Nurse, altout two years a(\er her motlier's death, married 
Miehael Howden, of Marl)leht'ad ; and they o('cupie<l her father's 
liouse, in the town of Salem, of whieii he had retained the pos- 
session. His family havinj.; thus all been married olf, Francis 
Niu'se };ave up his homestead to his son Sanniel, and divided his 
remaininj; property aniou}^ his four sons and lour dau<i;liters. He 
made no formal deed or will, but drew up a paper, dateil Dec. -1, 
1G94, describing the distribution of the estate, and what he ex- 
pected of his children. He gave them immediate occupancy and 
possession of their resj)ective portions. The provision made by 
the old man for his comfort, and the conditions reipiired of his 
children, are curious. They give an interesting insight of the lile 
of a rural patriarch. He reserved his " great chair and cushion ; " 
a groat chest; his bed and bedding; wardrobe, liner, and woollen ; 
a pewter pot ; one marc, bridle, saddle, and suflicient fodder ; the 
■whole of the crop of corn, both Indian and English, he had made 
that year. The children were to discharge all the debts of his 
estate, pay him fourteen pounds a year, and contril)ut(; etpially, 
as much more as might be necessary lor his comfortable mainte- 
nance, and also to his "decent burial.'' The labors of his life 
had closed. He ha,d borne the heaviest burden that can be laid 
on the heart of a good man. He found rest, and sought solace 
and support, in the society and love of his children and their liuni- 
lies, as he rode from house to house on the road he had opened, 
by which they all connnunicated with each other. The parish 
r(!Cords show that he continued his interest in its alfairs. He 
lived just long enough to behold sure evidence that justice wouhl 
be done to the memory of those who sulFered, and the authors of 
the mischief be consigned to the condenmation of mankind. The 
tide, upon which Mr. Parris had ridden to the destruction of so 
many, had turned ; and it was becoming apparent to all, that 





• lii 

he would soon 1»c ronipcllcd fo <1iNa|i[)ciir from liis riilnistry In 
tlic vill!i;ft', 1»( lure tlic ruvakfriii);; rcHtiilinciii of (li«' pcojilc ami tlit! 
mini.Htcr.s. Kraiicis Nurse died on tin; JiM oC NoviinlKr, l»i!t."», 
fj'vcutv-scvcii yt'iir.s of a;;c. His (<(»iis wijii tlicir wives, and iiis 
daii;f|ilcr.s with llirir ]iiiMl>aiid!i, went into tlu' I'roltatc Court with 
tilt' paper before deseril»e<l, and iinaiiiinoii.sly re(jnested the jiid;^(! 
to have the estate divitled ae<()rdiM^ to itM tenii.s. Thi.s i.s eonelii- 
sive proof that the father had heen just and wise in his arran;xe- 
nients, and that true frati-rnal h^ve and harnmny pervaded the 
whole liiniily. The deset'udants, under the names of Howden, 
Tarhell, and Kussell, are dispersed in various parts of the eonn- 
try : those under the name of Preston, while some have ;,'one 
elsewhere, have heen ever since, and still are, amon<; the most 
respeetal)le ami honored eitizens of the villa;;e. Some of the 
name of Nurse have also remained, and worthily rei)rescnt and 
perpetuate it. 

I have spoken of the tide's heginninf^ to turn in lGn;>. Sure 
indications to that elfect were then (piite visible. It had he^^un 
liir down in the public mind before the prosecutions ceased ; 
but it was long belbre the change became apparent on the sur- 
face. It was long before men found utterance lor their feelings. 

Persons living at a distance have been accustomed, and are to 
this day, to treat the Salem-witchcrafl transaction in the spirit of 
lightsome ridicule, and to make it the subject of jeers and jokes. 
Not so liiose who have lived on, or near, the fatal scene. They 
have ever regarded it with solemn awe and profound sorrow, 
and shunned the mention, and even the remembrance, of its de- 
tails. This prevented an innnediate expression of feeling, and 
delayed movements in the way of attempting a reparation of the 
wrongs that had been connnitted. The heart sickened, the lips 
were dumb, at the very thought of those wrongs. Reparation 
was impossible. The dead were beyond its reach. The sorrows 
and anguish of survivors were also beyond its reach. The voice 
of 8yn>j)athy was felt to be unworthy to obtrude upon sensibilities 
that had been so outraged. The only refuge left for the indi- 
viduals who had been bereaved, and for the body of the people 
who realized that innocvint blood was on all their hands, was in 
humble and soul-subdued silence, and in prayers for Ibrgiveness 
from God and from each ether. 



It w.lM li)n<j lirfdrc iIm' |iu1ilir iii!ni] nM()\cn'il from itx jtaraly- 
»Is. No one kiii'w wliat im;ilit to Im- i«ai<l or <lniu'. tin- tra^ittly 
liail Im-4-ii so auriil. 'I'lif |i:irlii'>< who acti-tl in it were so 
iiiiiiicioiis, and of siirli .otainlin;;, iniliiilin;.' almost all the most 
(MuiiM-Mt anil lionoi'fd Iradcrs oC tlu> community from tii<' b<-m'li, 
the liar, tlic nja^iistracy, tlic iMd|ii(, tin- nifiliial funilly, and in 
fact all classfs ami dcHcriptionr* of ]»(*r.>«ons ; tlu* iny.-tcrii'.s con- 
ncctcfl with ihi' a<'ciis«'r-i and conrt'ssops ; tlic universal [irrva- 
h'W4' of th<; lr;;al, tlu'olo^rical, and |)!iiloso|)liiial thcorits that 
liail led to the |iroctM'din;xs ; the nttt-r im|tos.sil)ility of n-ali/.in;^ 
or HK'asnrin;; tin* extent oC tlu' calamity ; and the <;«'neral .shame, 
and horror associated with the Nnlijeet ii) all minds ; prevented 
any open moventent. Then there was the dr»'ad of rekindling 
animosities which time was silently siilidiiin;,', and nothinjLf l>iit 
time conid lullv extinjinisli. Slowlv, howmer, the rcMK inlwance 
of wroiij^s was becoming obscured. Neighborhood and l)M>in( ss 
relations were gradually reconciling the estranged. Ollices of 
civility, courtesy, and good-will wrn.' reviving; social anil family 
intimacies an<l connecti(tns were taking ellect and restcn-ing the 
eoimminity to a natural and satisfactory condition. Kvery day, 
the sentiment was sinking (ku'jKir in the public mind, that some- 
thing was re([uired to be done to avert the displeasure of Ilt-aven 
from a guilty land. Hut while son)e were ready to forgive, and 
some had the grace to ask to be forgiven, any general movi- 
ment in this direction was obstru'Jted by dilliculties hard to b« 

The wrongs committed were so remediless, the outrages upon 
right, character, and life, had Iwen si) shocking, that it was ex- 
pecting too much from the ordinary standard of Inimanity to 
demand a general oblivion. On the other hand, so many had 
been responsible for tluMu, ai;d their promoters endtraced such 
a great majority of all the leading classes of society, that it was 
impossible to call them to account. J)p. IJentley describes the 
condition of the conmuniity, in some brief and pregnant sen- 
tences, characteristic of his jieculiar style : " As soon as the judges 
ceased to condemn, the i)eople ceased to accuse. . , . Terror at 
the violence and guilt of the proceedings succeeded instantly to 
the conviction of blind zeal ; and what every man had encouraged 
all professed to abhor. Few dared to blame other men, because 






few were innocent. The guilt and the shaine became the portion 
of the country, while Salem had the infamy of being the place of 
the transiictions. . . . After the public mind became ({uiet, few 
things were done to disturb it. liut a diminished population, 
the injury done to religion, and the distress of the aggrieved, 
were seen and felt with the greatest sorrow. . . . Every j)lace was 
the subject of some direful tale. Fear haunted every street. 
INhdancholy dwelt in silence in every place, after the sun retired. 
Business could not, for some time, recover its former channels ; 
and the innocent suffered with the gidlty." 

While the subject was felt to be too dark and awful to be 
spoken of, and most men desired to bury it in silence, occasionally 
the slumbering fires would rekindle, and the tlames of animosity 
burst forth. The recollection of the part he had acted, and the 
feelings of many towards him in consequence, rendered the 
situation of the sheriff often quite unpleasant ; and the resentment 
of some broke out in a shameful demonstration at his death, which 
occurred early in 1697. Mr. English, representing that class who 
had suffered under his ofRcial hands in 1G92, having a business 
demand upon him, in the shape of a suit for debt, stood ready 
to seize his body after it was prepared for interment, and pre- 
vented the funeral at the time. The body was temporarily de- 
posited on the sheriff's own premises. There were, it is prol)able, 
from time to time, other less noticeable occurrences manifesting 
the long-continued existence of the unhappy state of feeling engen- 
dered in 1G92. There were really two parties in the community, 
generally both quiescent, but sometimes coming into open col- 
lision ; the one exasperated by the wrongs they and their friends 
had suffered, the other determined not to allow those who had 
acted in conducting the jjrosecutions to be called to account for 
what they had done. After the lapse of thirty years, and long 
subsequent to the death of Mr. Noyes, ^Ir. English was prose- 
cuted for having said that Mr. Noyes had murdered Rebecca 
Nurse and John Procter. 

It has lieen suggested, that the bearing of the executive officers 
of the law towards the prisoners was often quite harsh. This re- 
sulted from the general feeling, in Aviiich the^se ofHcials would have 
been likely to sympathize, of the peculiarly execrable nature of 
the crime charged upon the accused, and from the danger that 



nii^lit attend the iiianlfestati' of any appearance of kindly re- 
gard for them. So far as tlie seizure of goods is considered, 
or the exaction of fees, the conduct of the olfuials ,".as in con- 
forniitv with usaj^e and intstructions. The sv.steni of the a-lniin- 
istration of the law, compared with our iimcs, was stern, severe, 
and barbarous. The whole tone of society was more unfeeling. 
Philanthropy had not then extended its operations, or directed 
its notice, to the prison. Sheriff Corwin was (juite a young man, 
being but twenty-six years of age at the time of his appointment. 
He probably acted under the advice of his relatives and connec- 
tions on the bench. I think there is no evidence of a ly i)articular 
cruelty evinced by him. The arrests, examinations, and imprison- 
ments had taken place under his predecessor, Marshal llerrick, 
who continued in the service as his dej)uty. 

That individual, indee<l, had justly incurn-d the resentment of 
the sufferers and their friends, bv eajrcr zeal in ur^^ing on the 
prosecutions, perpetual olliciousness, and unwarrantable inter- 
ference against the prisonei-s at the preliminary examinations. 
The odium originally attached to the marshal seems to have been 
transferred to his successor, and the whole was laid at the door 
of the sheriff. Marshal llerrick does not appear to have been 
connected with Joseph llerrick, who lived on what is now called 
Cherry Hill, but was a man of an entirely dillcrent stamp. He was 
thirtv-four vears of age, and had not been very long in the countrv. 
John Dunton speaks of meeting him in Salem, in 1G8G, and de- 
scribes him as a " very tall, handsome man, very regular and devout 
in his attendance at church, religious without bigotry, and having 
every man's good word." His impatient activity against the 
victims of the witchcraft delusion wrought a great change in the 
condition of this popular and "handsome" man, as is seen in 
a petition presented by him, Dec. 8, 1092, to "His Excel- 
lency Sir AVilliam Phips, Knight, Captain-general and Governor 
of Their Majesties' Territories and Dominions of ^Massachusetts 
liay in New England ; and to the Honorable William Stoughton,, 
Esq., Deputy-Govei nor ; and to the rest of the Honored Council." 
It Ijegins thus: " The petition of your poor servant, (icorge Her- 
rick, most humbly shoneth." After recounting his great aad 
various services " for the term of nine months, as marshal or 
deputy-sheriff in apprehending many prisoners, and conveying 

i .1 




tlicm "unto prison and from prison to prison," lie complains that 
his wlioUi time had been taken up so that he was inca])al)le of 
gettinjf any thing for the maintenance of his " })oor family : " ho 
further states that he had become so impoverished lluit ne»;essity 
had forced him to lay down his place ; and that he nuist certainly 
come to want, if not in some measure supplied. " Therel'ore I 
humbly beseech Your IIoi\ors to take my case and condition so 
liir into consideraticm, that I may have some supply this hard 
winter, that I and my poor children may not be destitute of suste- 
nance, and so inevitably perish ; for I have been bred a gentleman, 
and not much used to work, and am become despicable in these 
hard times." lie concludes l»y declaring, that he is not "weary 
of serving his king and country," nor very scrupulous as to the 
kind of service ; for he promises that " if his habitation" could 
thereby be " graced with plenty in the room of penury, there 
shall be no services too dangerous and dillicult, but your poor 
petitioner will gladly accejjt, and to the best of my i)ower accom- 
plish. I shall wholly lay myself at Your Honorable feet for 
relief." ^larshal Ilerrick died in IGOo. 

But, while this feeling was spreading among the people, the 
government were doing their best to cheek it. There was gi-eat 
apprehension, that, if allowed to gather force, it would burst over 
all barriers, that no limit would be put to its demands for the 
restoration of property seized by the ollicers of the law, and that 
it would wreak vengeance upon all who had bcvin engaged in 
the prosecutions. Under the iniluence of this fear, the follow- 
ing attempt was made to shield the shcrilF of the county from 
prosecutions for damages by those whose relatives had suf- 
fered : — 

" At a Superior Court of Judicature, Court of Aisize, and General Jail 
Dc'tiveri/, hold at Iitawich, the fifhenfh dai/ of Maij, anno Domini 1604. — 
Present, William Stoughton, Esq., Chief-justice ; Thomas Dantbrth, 
Esq. ; Samuel Sewall, Esq. 

" This Court, having adjusted the accounts of George Corwin, Esq., 
higli-sheritf for the county of Essex, do allow the same to be just and 
true ; and tliat there remains a balance due to him, the said Corwin, 
of £07. Os. Ad., which is also allowed unto liim ; and, pursuant to law, 
this Court doth fully, clearly, and absolutely acquit and discharge him, 



the saitl Gcorpe Corwin, liis heirs, executors, and ndminisfrators, hinds 
and tenements, jroods and chattels, of and from all manner of sum or 
sums of money, goods or chattels levied, received, ov seized, and of all 
debts, duties, and demands which are or may he charged in his, the 
said Corwin's, accounts, or which niay be imposed by reason of the 
sherifTs office, or any thing by him done by virtue tliereof, or in 
the execution of the same, from the time he entered into the said 
office, to this Court." 

Tills extraordinary attempt of the Court to dose the doors of 
justice beforehand ajjainst suits for dama<j;es did not seem to 
have any ellect ; for Mr. En<;lish compelled the executors of the 
sheriff to pay over to him £(Jn. 3.y. 

At leniijtli, tlic government had to meet the public feeling. A 
proclamation was issued, "By the Honorable the Lieutenant- 
Governor, Council, and Asseml)ly of His ^lajesty's province of the 
Massachusetts Bay, in General Court assembled.'" It begins thus : 
"Whereas the anger of God is not yet turned away, but his hand 
is still stretched out against his people in manifold judgments ;" 
and, after several specilii-ations of the calamities under Avhich they 
were suffering, and referring to the " many days of public and 
solemn" addresses made to God, it proceeds : " Yet we cannot but 
also lear that there is something still wanting to accompany our 
supplications ; and doubtless there are some particular sins which 
God is anJ^r^• with our Israel for, that have not been dulv seen and 
resented by us, about which God expects to be sought, if ever he 
again turn our captivity.'' Thursday, the fourteenth of the next 
January, was accordingly api)ointcd to be observed as a day of 
prayer and fasting, — 

" That so all God's people m.iy ofTer up fervent supplications imto him, 
that all iniquity may be put away, which hatii stirred (Jod's holy jeal- 
ousy against this land ; tiiat he would show us what we know not, and 
help us, wherein we have done amiss, to do so no more ; and especially, 
thiit, whatever mistakes on either hand have been fallen Into, either by 
the body of this people or any orders of men, referring to the late 
tragedy, raised among us by Satan and his instruments, through the 
awful judgment of God, he would humble us therefor, and pardon all 
the errors of his servants and people that desire to love his name ; 
that he would remove the rod of the wicked from off" the lot of the 

I .1 

1 i 





righteous ; tliat he would bring in the American heathen, and cause 
them to liear and obey his voice. 

" Given at Boston, Dec. 17, 1090, in the eighth year of Ilis Majes- 
ty's reign. Isaac Addingtox, Stcrctarij." 

The jury had acted in conformity with their obligations and 
honest convictions of duty in bringing in their verdicts. Tliey had 
sworn to decide according to the law and the evidence. The law 
under which they were required to act was laid down with abso- 
lute positiveness by the Court. They were bound to receive it, 
and to take and weigh the evidence that was admitted ; and to their 
minds it was clear, decisive, and overwhelming, olFered by persons 
of good character, and confirmed by a great number of confes- 
sions. If it had been within their jjrovince, as it always is de- 
clared not to be, to discuss the general principles, and sit in 
judgment on the particular penalties of law, it would not have 
altered the case ; for, at that time, not only the common peoi)lc, 
but the wisest philosophers, supported the interpretation of the 
law that acknowledged the existence of witchcraft, and its sanction 
that visited it with death. 

Notwithstanding all this, however, so tender and sensitive were 
the consciences of the jurors, that they signed and circulated the 
following humble and solenui declaration of regret for the part 
they had borne in the trials. As the publication of this paper was 
highly honorable to those who signed it, and cannot but be con- 
templated with satisfaction by all their descendants, I will repeat 
their names : — 

" We whose names are underwritten, being in the year 1002 called 
to serve as jurors in court at Salem, on trial of many who were by 
some suspected guilty of doing acts of witchcraft upon the bodies of 
sundry persons, — we confess that we ourselves were not capable to 
understand, nor able to withstand, the mysterious delusions of the 
powers of darkness and Prince of the air, but were, for want of knowl- 
edge in ourselves and better information from others, prevailed with to 
take up with such evidence against the accused as, on further consid- 
eration and better information, we justly fear was insufficient for the 
touching the lives of any (I)eut. xvii. 0), whereby we fear we have 
been instrumental, with others, though ignorantly and unwittingly, to 
bring iipon ourselves and this people of the Lord the guilt of innocent 
blood; which sin the Lord saith in Scripture he would not pardon 



4r» f 

(2 Kings xxiv. 4), — that is, we suppose, in regard of liis temporal 
jiulgnieiits. We do therefore liereby signify to all in general, and to 
the surviving sufferers in special, our deep sense of, and sorrow for, 
our errors in acting on such evidence to the condenniing of any per- 
son ; and do hereby declare, that we justly fear that we were sadly 
deluded and mistaken, — for which we are much disquieted and dis- 
tressed in our minds, and do therefore humbly beg forgiveness, first, 
of God, for Christ's sake, for this our error, and pray that (Jod would 
not impute tlie guilt of it to ourselves nor others : and we also i)ray 
that we may be considered candidly and aright by the living sufferers, 
as being tJien under the power of a strong and general delusion, utterly 
unacquainted with, and not experienced in, matters of that nature. 

"We do heartily ask forgiveness of you all, whom we have justly 
offended ; and do declare, according to our jjresent minds, we would 
none of us do such tilings again, on such grounds, for tlie whole 
world, — praying you to accept of this in way of satisfaction for our 
offence, and that you would bless the inheritance of the Lord, that he 
may be entreated for the land. 

" TnoMAS FisK, Foreman. 

William Fis:c. 

John Baciieleu. 

Thomas Fisk, Jr. 

John Dane. 

Joseph Evelith. 

Thomas Pearly, Sr. 
John Feauodt. 
Thomas Feukins. 
Samuel Sayeii. 
Andrew Eliot. 
IIenuy IIeuuick, Sr." 

In 1G97, Rev. John Hale, of Beverly, published a work on the 
subject of the witchcraft persecutions, in which he gives the reasons 
which led him to the conclusion that there was error at the foun- 
dation of the proceedings. The following extract shows that ho 
took a rational view of the subject : — 

" It may be queried then, How doth it appear that there was a 
going too far in this affair ? 

"Answer I. — By the number of persons accused. It cannot be 
imagined, that, in a place of so much knowleilge, so many, in so small 
a compass of land, should so abominably leap into t)ie Devil's lap, — 
at once. 

"Ans. II. — The quality of several of the accused was such as 
did bespeak better things, and things that accompany salvation. 
Persons whose blameless and holy lives before did testify for tiicm ; 
I)ersons that had taken great pains to bring up thtir childnn in the 
uuitttre ami admonition of the Lord, such as we had charity for as for our 




t '. 1 

i'Fl :i| ! 

' 1 , 

i ■ i! 

own souls, — and charity is a Christian duty, commended to us in 
1 Cor. xiii., Col. iii. 14, and many otiier places. 

"Axs. III. — The number of the afflicted by Satan daily increased, 
till about fifty persons were thus vexed by the Devil. This gave just 
ground to su.spect some mistake. 

"Ans. IV. — It was considerable, that nineteen were executed, 
and all denied the crime to the death : and some of them were knowing 
persons, and had before this been .".^counted blameless livers. iVnd it 
is not to be imagined but that, if all had been guilty, some would have 
liad so much tenderness as to seek mercy for their souls in the way of 
confession, and sorrow for such a sin. 

" Ans. V. — When this prosecution ceased, the Lord so chained 
Tip Satan, that the afflicted grew presently well : the accused are 
generally quiet, and for five years since we have no such molestation 
by them." 

Such reasonings as these found their way into the minds of the 
whole comnmnity ; and it became the melancholy conviction of all 
candid and considerate persons that innocent blood had been shed. 
Standing where we do, with the lights th. t surround us, we look 
back upon the whole scene as an awful perversion of justice, 
reason, and truth. 

On the 13th of June, 1700, Abigail Faulkner presented a wcll- 
oxpressod memorial to the General Court, in which ."ihe says that 
her pardon " so fiir had its elfect, as that I am yet suffered to live, 
but this only as a malefactor convict upon recoi'd of the most 
heinous crimes that mankind can be supposed to be guilty of; " and 
prays for "the defacing of the record" against her. She claims it 
as no more than a simple act of justice ; stating that the evidence 
against her was wholly confined to the " afllicted, who pretended to 
see me l)y their spectral sight, and not with their bodily eyes." 
That " the jury (upon only their testimony) brought me in ' Guilty,' 
and the sentence of death was passed upon me ; " and that it had 
been decided that such testimony was of no value. The House of 
Representatives felt the force of her appeal, and voted that "the 
prayer of the petitioner be granted." The council declined to con- 
cur, but addressed " His Excellency to -^rant the petitioner His 
Majesty's gracious pardon ; and His Excellency expressed His 
readiness to grant the same." Some adverse influence, it seemed, 
prevailed to prevent it. 

On the 18th of March, 1702, another petition was presented to 



the General Court, by ])erson.s of Andover, Salem Vllla^io, antl 
Topsfii-M, wlio ]uA sullerrd iiu})risuninent and tondeiunation, 
and hy the relations of others who had been eondenini'd and 
exeeuted on the testimony, as they say, of " possessed persons,"' 
to this elfect : — 

"Your petitioners beinj:f dissatisfied and grieved tliat (besides wliat 
the condemned persons have suffered in tiieir persons and estates) 
their names are exposed to infamy and reproaeli, while their trial and 
condenniation stands upon public record, we tlieretbre liumbly pray 
this lionored Court tliat something may be publicly done to take off 
infamy from the names and memory of those who have suflereil as 
aforesaid, that none of their surviving relations nor tlieir posterity may 
suffer reproach on that account." 

[Signed by Francis Faulkner, Isaac Easty, Thorndike Procter, and 
eigliteen otliero.] 

On the 20th of July, in answer to the foregoing petitions, a 
bill was ordered by the House of Representatives to be drawn up, 
forbidding in future such procedures, as in the witeherall trials 
of 1GU2 ; deelai'ing that " no spectre evidence may hereafter be 
accounted valid or sufficient to take away the life or good name 
of any person or persons within this province, and that the inliimy 
and reproach cast on the names and posterity of said accused and 
condennied persons may in some measure be rolled away/' The 
council concurred witii an additional clause, to ac(piit all con- 
demned persons " of the penalties to which they are liable upon 
the convictions and judgments in the courts, and estate them in 
their just credit and reputation, as if no such judgment had been 

This petition was re-enforced by an "address" to the General 
Court, dated July 8, 1703, by several ministers of the county 
of Essex. They speak of the accusers in the witchcraft trials as 
" young persons under diabolical molestations," and express this 
sentiment: " There is great reason to I'd i- that innocent jiersona 
then suifered, and that God may have a controversy with the land 
upon that account." They earnestly beg that the jjrayer of the 
petitiomrs, lately presented, maybe granted. This petition was 
signed by Thomas IJarnard, of Andover; Joseph Green, of Salem 
Village ; William Hubbard, John Wise, John Rogers, and Jabez 

: t 

! ! 

I I, 



Fitch, of Tpswlcli ; Benjamin Rolfe, of Ilavrrliill ; Samuel Clieevpr, 
of M;ir!)K'lK' .(1 i Joseph (it'rri.sli, of AVenliani ; .Joseph C'apeii, of 
TopsileM ; Zeehariali Synnnes, of Uradlbnl ; and Tlionias S\ nnnes, 
of IJoxford. Francis Dane, of Andover, Iiad die<l six vears hefore. 
Jolni Hale, of Beverly, had died three years before. The {jjreat 
age of Johr lIi<j;;;inson, of Salem, — ei;fhty-seven years, — prob- 
ably prevented the papers beinj; handed to him. It is observable, 
that Nicholas Xoyes, his colleague, is not among the signers. 

What prevented action, wc do not know; but ;.otIiing 'cas 
done. Six years afterwards, on the 2oth of May, 170!), an " hum- 
ble rddress" was presented to the General Court by certain 
inhabitants of the province, some of whom "had their near re- 
lations, either parents or others, who sidfered death in the dark 
and dolelul times that passed over this j)rovince in 101)2;" and 
others "who themselves, or some of their relations, were impris- 
oned, impaired and blasted in their reputations and estates by rea- 
son of the same." Tliey pray for the j)assage of a " suitable act" 
to restore the reputations of the sulferers, and to make some re- 
muneration " as to what they have been damnified in their estates 
thereby." This paper was signed by Philii) English and twenty- 
one others. Diilip Englisli gave in an account in detail of what 
articles wero seized and carried away, at the time of his arrest, 
from four of his warehouses, his wharf, and shop-house, besides 
the expenses incurred in prison, and in escaping from it. It 
appears by this statement, that he and his wife were nine weeks in 
jail at Salem and Boston. Notliing was done a this session. 
The next year, Sept. 12, 1710, Isaac Easty presented a strong 
memorial to the General Court in reference to his case. lie calls 
for sonie remuneration. In speaking of the arrest ind execution 
of his " beloved wife," he says " my sorrow and trouble of lieart in 
being deprived of her in such a manner, which this world can 
never make me any compensation for." At the same time, the 
daughters of Elizabeth How, the son of Sarah Wildes, the heirs of 
!Mary Bradbury, Edward Bishop and his wife Sarah, sent in 
severally similar petitions, — all in earnest and forcible language. 
Charles, one of the sons of George Burroughs, presented the case 
of his " dear and honored father; " declaring that his innocence of 
the crime of which he Avas accused, and his excellence of character, 
were shown in " his careful catechising his children, and upholding 




rcH^fion In his fatnily, and 1)y his soU>nin and savory written in- 
stnictioiiH from prison." He (Icscrilics in afrcctin;^ details tlie 
condition in wliicli his fiither's family of littlo chihhTM was K'ft at 
lii.s death. One of Mr. l}urrou<fhs"s dan^fhtcrs, upon Itt-inj; re- 
quired to .si^fu a paper in referenee to compensation, expresses her 
distress of mind in these words : " Every discourse on this melan- 
choly subject (hjth hut pive a fresli woinid to my bleedin;:; heart. 
I desire to sit down in silence.'" John ?.Ioulton, in behalf of tho 
family of Giles Corey, sa' ; that thoy " cannot sullieiently express 
their <rrief" for the death, in such a manner, of " their honored 
father and mother." Samuel Nurse, in behalf of his brothers and 
sisters, says that their "honored and dear mother l»ad led a 
blameU'Ss life from l;er youth up. . . . Iler name and the name of 
her posterity lies unch'r reproach, tho removing of which rei)roach 
is the principal thiuf^f wherein we desire restitution. And, as we 
know not how to express our loss of such a mother in such a way, 
so wo know not how to comjmto our charge, but leave it to the 
judgment of others, and shall not be critical." He distinctly in- 
timates, that they do not wish any money to be paid them, nidess 
" the attainder is taken ofT." Many other petitions were presented 
by the families of those who luirerod, all in the same spirit ; and 
several besides the Nurses insisted mainly upon the " taking off 
the attainder." 

The General Court, on tho 17th of October, 1710, j)assed an 
act, that " the several convictions, judgments, and attainders be, 
r.nd hereby are, reversed, and declared to be null and void." In 
simple justice, they ought to l.ave extended the act to all who had 
suffered ; but they confined its effect to those in reference to 
whom petitions had been presented. The families of some of 
them had disappeared, or may not have had notice of what was 
going on ; so that the sentence which the Government acknowledged 
to have been unjust remains to this day unreversed against the 
names and memory of Bridget Bishop, Susanna Martin, Alice 
Parker. Ann Pudeator, Wilmot Read, and Margaret Scott. The 
stain on the records of the Commonwealth has never been fully 
effaced. What caused this dilatory and halting course on the part 
of the Government, and wlio was responsible for it, cannot be 
ascertained. Since the presentation of Abigail Faulkner's petition 
in 1700, the Legislature, in the popular branch at least, and the 

II , 

i I 

I (• 




Govornor, appear to have boon iiuliiicd to art favoraltly in tlic jtro- 
iiiisi'S ; l)iit sniiu' powiT I)l()cko(l t' 'riiorc is soiuo reason to 

conjecture that it was tiio inllueiit v *.. (ne lioino ;,'overnnu'nt. Its 
consent to liave the j)r(Jsecn(ions snspeiKh d, in Ki'.CJ, was not very 
cordial, hut, wliih' it ai)provi'd of " care and circumspection there- 
in," e.xpressi'd rehictanco to allow any "impediment to the ordi- 
nary course ol' justice." 

On the 17th of Di-cemljcr, 1711, (lovcrnor Dudley issued his 
■warrant lor the purpose of carrying out a vote of the "(icneral 
Assemhly," " hy and with the advice and consent ol" Her ^lajes- 
ty's Coinicil," to pay "the sinn of £.")7H. I'J.v." to "such persons 
ns are livm;^, and to those that legally I'ejtresent them that are 
dead ; " which sum was divided as follows : — 

John rrocternnd wife CICO 

George Jacobs 7'J 

George HinToughs 50 

Sarah CJood SO 

Giles Corey and wife *J1 

3)oreas Hoar 21 17 

Abigail ll()l)bs 10 

llebecca Karnes 10 

Mary Tost H 1 1 

Mary Lacy 8 10 

Ami Foster G 10 

Samuel Wardwell and wife 30 lo 

Eebecca Nurse 25 

Mary Easty 20 

IMary Bradbury 20 

Abigaill-aulkner 20 

John Willaid • 20 

Sarah Wildes 14 

Elizabeth How 12 

Mary Parker^ 800 

Martha Cui-rier 7G0 

^578 12 

The distribution, as above, according to the evidence as it has 
come down to us, is as unjust and absurd as the smallness of the 




it has 
of the 



amount, and the long delay Kclitrc it was onlcrcd, an- discrt'dit- 
aldi' to till' jtrovincc. One oC tlic Iarjj;tr stuns was allowed to 
AViiliani (iootl, while lie elearlv deserved nolliing, as lie was an 
adversi! witness in tlie examination ol' liis wile, and did what lie 
could to proiiiote tlie prosecution a^xainst lur. Ih* did not, it is 
true, swear that he ludieved her to he a witch; l>ul what he saitl 
tended to prejudiee the nia;;istrates and the pul)lic a^^ainst her. 
Dcnjainin I'litnain acted as his attorney, and received the money 
for him. (loud was a retainer and depciulaiil of that hranch of 
the I'utiiam (iimily; and it>' iuthieiiee ;_fave him so hw^v. a propm-- 
tionate amount, and not the reason or equity of the ease. More 
was allowed to Al)i;;ail llohhs, a very nialij^nant witness a^^ainst 
the pris(jners, than to the, families of several who were executed. 
Nearly twice as inueli was allowed for Al»i<^ail Faulkner, wdi<j was 
panloned, as for Klizahi'th How, who was ex<'cuted. The sums 
allowed in the eases of Parker, Carrier, and Foster, wi-re shame- 
fully small. The pnhlic mind evidently was not satisfied; and the 
Lef^islature wi-re pressed for a hall-eeiitury to make more adi'- 
quate eompensation, and thereby vindicate the sentiment ol' jus- 
tice, and redeem the honor of the province. 

On the (Stli of Deceniher, \1'.\H, Major Samuel Sewall, a sou of 
the Judjre, intrcMluced an order in the House of llepreseiitativi s 
for the api)ointment of a committee to <xet information relatiu;: to 
" the circumstances of the persons and families who sulfered in the 
calamity of the times in and abcnit the year KJO^." Major .Sewall 
entered into the matter with ureat zeal. The House unanimously 
passed the order. He was chairman of the committee ; ami, on the 
l)th of December, wrote to his cousin Mitchel Sewall in Salem, son 
of Stephen, earnestly requesting him and John Higginson, Esq., 
to aid in accomplishing the object. The following is an extract 
from a speech delivered by (Jo\er lor JUdcher to both Houses of 
the Legislature, Xov. 22, 1710. t is honorable to his memory. 

" The Legislature iiavc often lionored themselves in a kind and. 
generous remembrance of sucli families and of tlie posterity of sucli as 
have been sullerers, either in tlieir jjcrsons or estates, for or by the 
Government, of whuli the public records will give you many instances. 
I should tlierefore be glad there miufbt be a committee appointetl l)y 
this Court to iiupiire into tlie sufierinjis of the peojile called (,)uakers, 
in the early days of this country, as also into the descendants of sucii 

VOL. II. 31 





liunilii'M iH were in ft niiimuT niincMl in llic mistiikcn niiiMHncniont of 
tiio trrrilile atliiir t'iilii,'il witclicrat't. I rciilly think tiii-iv is suiiu'lliiii;; 
iiicmiilK-iit on this (ioviTnnii'nt to lie (iniii' tiir n-licvin^r the cstati's and 
rc'|>iitalii)iis (it' the ]i(istiTities dt'tiu' iinha|i|iy tiiniiiii-s that so siitU-retl ; 
and the duin^ it, tlion^di so lon^ nl'terwards, wonid donhtless be* iiccopt- 
iii)lt> to Alniijflity (Jud, and would ivtii-ct lionor niton die present 

On the .'Ust (»l" Miiy, 1711', the heirs of (Jeorrc Unrr<<n;.diH ad- 
dressed ii pi'tition to (lovernitr Sliirh'V ami tlie (Jeiu'ral Conrt, set- 
tin;; forth " the nnparaMeled perseeiitions and snHerinL's" of tlieir 
jiiici'stoi', and prayin;^ for "some reeoinpeiise from this ('oiirt llir 
the hisses tliereliy sustained l»y liis liimily."' It was referred to a 
eonimittee of lioth Ilonses. 'J'he next year, the petitioners sent 
ii memorial to (lovernur Spencer I'hips and the (leneral Court, 
statinii, tiiat"it liatli I'ell ont, tliat the Hon. ^Fr. Danfortli, 
chairman of tlie said eonnnittee, had not, as yet, eaUed thi'in to- 
{^ether so mneh as onee to act thereon, even to tliis (hiy, as some of 
the honoralde eoinmittee thomscdves were ph'ased, with real eon- 
eern, to si^^nifv to yonr said petitioners." The House inunediately 
jjassed this o. ler: " Tliat tlie eonnnittee within reli-rred to hu 
directed to sit lorthwith, consider the petition to them conunitted, 
and report as soon as may be." 

All that 1 have been able to liiul, as the result of these long- 
delayed and long-protraeted movements, is a statement of Dr. 
lientley, that the heirs of IMiilii) Knj^lish veeeivi'd two hundred 
jjoumls. He does not say when the act to this ell'eet was passed. 
Perhaps some general measure of the kind was adopted, the rec- 
ord of which I have failed to meet. 'J'he en<j;rossin<; interest oi' 
the then pending French war, and of the vehement dissensions 
that led to the Revolution, probably prevented any further atten- 
tion to this subject, after the middle of the last century. 

It is apparent from the Ibregoing statements and records, that 
while many individuals, the i)eople generally, and fmally Governor 
lieldier and the House of Representatives em})iiatieally, did what 
they could, there was an inlluence that prevailed to prevent for a 
long time, il" not for ever, any action of the province to satisfy the 
demands made by justice and the honor of the country in repair- 
ing the great Avrongs committed by the legislative, executive, and 
judicial branches of the Government in 16t)2. The only bodies 



(»r int'ii wlio fully <';iiiic up to tluir duty on llic (icca-iiMi wen- tlic nl" till' cimiity, uikI, as will ai>i>('iii', tlu' cliunli at Sak-in 

Wliat was flnn»^ hv the First Clirrrli in Salcin is sIidwm in the 
f'ulliiwin;^ cxtratt from its ri'i-onls : — 

"March 2, 1712. — After the siicraniont, n clnirch-nioctinLr was ap- 
pointi'd to 111' at tlu- tcaclier's Iioum-, at two of tlu' clock in tlic after- 
noon, on the sixtli of the month, lieiiii,' 'riiursilay : on wlii<'li day they 
accorilinniy met to eonsidiT of tlie sevi'ial foUowinjr particulars pro- 
pounded to tliem hy the teacher; vi/. : — 

" 1. Wlu'ther tlie record of tlie excommunication of our Sister Xiirso 
(all tiling's considered) may not lie erased and iilotted out. The result 
of wliicli consideration was, Tliat wiiereas, on July od, Ki'.fJ, it was jiro- 
posed by the KIders, and consented to by an unanimous vole (»f tlio 
churcli, that our Sister Nurse should be excommunicated, she Ikmii",' 
convicted of witchcraft liy the Court, imd she was accordiuiily ex- 
coniujuuicated, since which the (icneral Court havinj; taken otf the 
attainder, and the testimony on which she was convicted beiiiK not 
now so satistiictory to ourselves and others as it was j,'enerally in tliat 
hour of darkness and temptation; and we beinj^ solicited by her son, 
Mr. Samuel Nurse, to erase and blot out of the church records the 
sentence of her exconununication, — this church, having the matter 
Iirojxised to them by the teacher, ami liavin- seriously considered it, 
doth con.sent that the record of our Si.ster Nurse's exconnnunication 
be accordinjrly erased and blotted out, that it may no lonirer be a 
reproach to her memory, and an occasion of jrrief to her children. 
IIund)ly reijuestiuf? that the merciful God would pardon whatsoever 
sin, error, or mistake was in the application of that censure anil of 
that whole affair, throui;h our merciful Hi<:h-priest, wdio knoweth how 
to have compassion on the ignorant, and those that arc out of the 

"2. It was proposed whether the sentence of excomn\unication 
against our IJrother (Jiles Corey (all things considered) may not be 
erased ami blotted out. Tlie result was. That whereas, on Sejit. 18, 
1092, it was considered by the church, that our IJrother Gile.^ Corey 
stood accused of and indicted for the sin of witchcraft, and that he 
had obstinately refused to plead, and so threw himself on certain 
death. It was agreed by the vote of the church, that he should be 
excommuincated for it ; and accordingly he was excommunicated. 
Yet the church, having now testimony in his behalf, that, liefore his 
death, he did bitterly repent nf his obstinate refusal to plead in defence 




: r» 



of his lift', do coiLsont that tlie sentence of his excommunication be 
erased and blotted out." 

It will 1)0 noticed tliat tliose prococdinj^s were not iiad at a 
rcf^ulav pnl)lic meeting, but at a private meeting of the church, on 
a week-day afternoon, at the teacher's house. The motives that 
led to them were a disposition to coniply with the act oC the 
General Court, and the solicitations of ^I ". Sanuiel Nurse, rather 
than a pi'ofound sense of wrong done to a venerable nicuiber of 
their own body, who hud claims u])oi) their protection as such. 
The language of the record does not frankly admit al)solutely that 
there was sin, error, or mistake, but recpiests forgiveness for 
whatsoever there may have been. The character of Rebecca 
Kurse, and the outrageous treatment she had received from that 
church, in the method arranged Ibr her excommunication, de- 
manded something more than these hyi)othetical expressions, with 
such a preaml)le. 

The statement made in the vote about Corey is, on its face, a 
misrc])resentation. From the nature of the proceeding by which 
he was destroyed, it was in his power, at any moment, if he 
"repented of his obstinate refusal to plead," by saying so, to be 
instantly released from the pressure that was crushing him. The 
onlv design of the torture was to make him brinsj; it to an end by 
"answeiing" guilty, or not guilty. Somebody fabricated the 
slaiuler that Corev's resolution broke down under his ayouies, and 
that he bitterly repented ; and Mr. Noyes put the foolish scandrl 
upon the records of the church. 

The date of this transaction is disreputable to the people of 
Salem. Twenty years had been suH'crcd to elapse, and a great 
outrage allowed to remain unacknowledged and unrepented. The 
credit of doing what was done at last pro])ably belongs to the Rev. 
George Corwin. His call to the ministry, as colleague with Mr. 
Noyes, had just been consununated. The introduction ol' a new 
minister heralded a new policy, and the proceedings have the 
appearance of growing out ol' the kindly and auspicious feelings 
which generally attend and welcome such an era. 

The Rev, George, son of Jonathan Corwin, was born INIay 
21, 168:5, and graduated at Harvard College in 1701. ]\Ir. 
Barnard, of Marblehead, describes his character: "The spirit of 

nication be 

t liad at a 
,'lmiTli, on 
otives lliat 
act of the 
rse, rather 
neniber of 
ti as such, 
hitely that 
veness for 
f Rebecca 
from that 
•ation, (le- 
sions, with 

its face, a 
; by which 
ent, if he 
: so, to be 
liini. The 
\n end by 
icated the 
onies, and 
jh scandrl 

people of 
id a great 
ted. The 

the Rev. 

1 with jVIr. 
of a new 
have the 

LIS feelings 

born INIay 
'01. ]\Ir. 
B spirit of 



early devotion, accompanii'd witli a natural freedom of thought 
and easy elocution, a (piick invention, a solid judgment, and a 
tenacious memory, laid the foundation of a good preacher; to 
which his acquired literature, his great reading, hard studies, deep 
meditation, and close Avalk with (iod, n-ndert'd him an aide and 
faithful minister of the Xew 'J'estament."' The records of the 
Pirst Chui'ch, in noticing his death, thus speak of him: " lie was 
highly esteemed in his life, and verv deservcdlv lamentecl at his 
death ; having been very emini'ut lor his early improvement in 
learning and piety, his singular abilities and great labors, his 
remarkable zeal and faithfuliu'i-s. lie was a great ijcnefactor to 
our poor." Those bearing the name of Curwen among us are his 
descendants. lie died Xov. 23, 1717. 

The Rev. Nicholas Xoyes died Dec. 13, 1717. He was a 
person of superior talents and learning. He published, Avitli the 
sermon preached by Cotton ]Matlier on the occasion, a i)oem on 
the death of his venerable colleague, Mr. Higginson, in 170S; and 
also a poem on the death of Rev. Joseph (^reen, in 1715. Al- 
though an amiable and benevolent man in other respects, it can- 
not be denied that he was misled by his errors and his tempera- 
ment into the most violent course in the witchcral't prosecutions ; 
and it is to be feared that his feelings were never wholly rectilied 
in reference to that transaction. 

Jonathan, the father of the Rev. George Corwin, and whose 
pai't as a magistrate and jiulge in the examinations and trials 
of 1G92 has been seen, died on the 9th of .July, 17bS, seventy- 
eight years of age. 

It oidy remains to record the course of the villaiie cliurch and 
people in reference to the events of 1092. Alter six persons, in- 
cluding Rebecca Nurse, had sullered death; and while li\e others, 
George burroughs, John Procter, John Willard, George Jacobs, 
and Martha Carrier, were awaiting their execution, which was to 
take place on the coming Friday, Aug. 19, — the lacts, related as 
follows by ^Ir. Parris in his record-book, occurred : — 

" Sabbatli-day, 14th Auj,nist, 10'.)2. —The cliurcli was stayed after 
the conjire^'ation was dismissed, and the pastor spake to tlie churcli 
after tliis manner : — 

" ' brethren, you may all have taken notice, tliat, several sncrament 
days past, our brother Peter Cloyse, and ISamuel Xurse and his wile, 






and Joliii Tarboll and liis wife, have absented from coniniunion with 
us at the Lord's Table, yea, have very rarely, ext-ept our brotlier 
Sauniel Xurse, been witii us in eoninion public worsbij): now, it is 
needful that the church send some persons to them to know the 
reason of their absence. Therefore, if you be so minded, express 

" None objected. But a general or universal vote, after some dis- 
course, jiassed, that IJrother Mathaniel I'utnam and the two deacons 
should join with the pastor to discourse with the said abseuters 
about it. 

" olst August. — Brother Tarbell proves sick, unmeet for discourse ; 
Brother Cloyse hard to be found at home, l)eing often with his wife in 
prison at Ipswich for witchcraft; and Brother Nurse, and s<mietimes his 
wife, attends our public meeting, and he the sacrament, 11th Septem- 
ber, 1G'J2 : upon all which we choose to wait further." 


I I 

< i 


^Vhen it i.s remembered that the individuals aimed at all belonged 
to the family of Rebecca Nurse, whose execution had taken place 
three weeks before uiuler circumstances with which Mr. I'arris 
bad been so proiniiu'ntly and rcs[)onsibly connected, this proceed- 
ing must be felt by i-very person of ordinary hunuin sensibilities 
to have l)een cruel, barbarous, and unnatural. I'arris made the 
entry in his book, as he ol'len did, some time alter the transaction, 
as the inserted date of Sept. 11, shows. ^Vhat his object was 
in connnencing discii)linary trcatnu'ut of this distressed family is 
not certain. Jt may be that he was preparing to get up such a 
f 'eiing against them as would make it sale to have the " alllicted" 
cry out upon some of them. Or it nuiy be that he wished to get 
them out of his church, to avoid the possibility of their proceeding 
against him, by ecclesiastical methods, at some future day. He 
could not, howt'ver, bring his church to continue the i)rocess. 
This is the iirst indication that tlie bretlircn were no longer to be 
relied on by him to go all lengths, and that some renmants of 
good feeling and good sense were to be I'ounil among them. 

But jNIr. I'arris was determined not to allow the jjublic feeling 
against persons charged with witchcral't to subside, if he could help 
it; and he made one more elfort to ri'iu'w the vehemence of the 
])rosi'cutions. He prepared and pri'ached two sermons, on the 
llth ol'St ptendjer, from tiie text, Kev. xvii. 11: " Thes'.' shall make 
war witli the I^amb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: lor he is 




Lord (iC lords, and Kiii;_' oCkiiius: and tliry that an; ^vitll him are 
calli'd and chosmi and raithrid."" Thoy arc i-ntilU-d, " The 
Devil and his instruments will he warrinj^ airainst (.'hiist and his 
H)llowers.'' This nolo is added, "Alter the C'tnidenniation of six 
■\vitehes at a court at Salem, one of the witches, viz., Martha 
C'ori-y, in lidl connnunion with onr chnrch.'' The lollowini!; is a 
portion of "the improvement'' in the application ol" these dis- 
courses : — 

" It may serve to reprove sucli as sooni to be so amazed at the war 
the Devil lias raised amoni^^st us b}' wizards and witclies, against the 
Land) and his followers, that they altogether deny it. If ever there 
were witclies, men and women in covenant with the Devil, here are 
multitudes in New Knt,dand. Nor is it so stranj;e a thinjj; that there 
should be such; no, nor that some church-members shoiild be such. 
Pious Hishoj) Hall saitii, 'The Devil's prevaleiu-y in this a^e is most 
clear in the marvellous number of witches aboundhiLj; in all jilaces. 
Now hundreds (says be) are discovered in one shire; and, if fame 
deceive us not, in a village of fourtei ii bouses in the north are fouiul 
so many of tliis danmed bnxxL Heretofore, (;nly bar))an)us deserts 
had them; but now the civilized and religious parts are frecpiently 
pestered with them. Heretofore, some silly, ignorant old woman, &c. ; 
but now we have known those of both sexes who y)rofessed much 
knowledge, holiness, and devotion, drawn into this damnable prac- 
tice.' " 

The foregoinj^ extract is important as .showin<f that sonu' per- 
sons at the villar!,e had benun to express their disbc lief of the 
witchcraft doctrine of Mr. Parris, " altoj::ether denying;- it." The 
title and drift of the sermons in connection with the date, and his 
proeeedin;:s, the month before, against Samuel Xnrse, 'i'arliell, 
and Cloyse, members uf his church, give color to the idea that he 
was designing to have them "cried out" against, and thus dis- 
posed of. It is a noticeable fact, that, about this time. Cotton 
JNIatlu'r was also laying his jilans for a riMU'wal, or rather contiim- 
ance, of witchcraft ])roseiiitions. Nine days after these sermons 
were preache«l by l*ai-ris, Mather wrote the I'ollowing letter to 
Stephen Sewall of Salem : — 

HoSTON, ?C|)t. 'JO, ll'iH2. 

Mv I)i:ak AM) MY vi:i!Y oHM<;iNfi Sri.i'MKN, — It is my bap to 
be continually . . . with all sorts of objections, and objectors against 
the . . . work now doing at Salem ; ami it is my further good hap to 
do some little service for God and you in my encounters. 

• Pi -'-' 

I ! 



But tliat I may be the more capable to assist in lifting up a stan- 
dard a;;ainst tlie infernal enemy, I must renew ni}' most importunate 
request, tliat you would please quickly to perform what you kindly 
promised, of giving nie a narrative of the evidences given in at the 
trials of half a dozen, or if you please a dozen, of the principal witches 
that have been condemned. I know 'twill cost you some time ; but, 
wliei you are sensible of the benefit that wil', follow, I know yo\i will 
not think much of that cost; and my own willingness to expose myself 
unto the utmost for the defence of my friends with you makes me 
presume to jjlead something of merit to be considered. 

1 shall l)e content, if you draw u[) the desired narrative by way 
of letter to me; or, at least, let it not ccmie without a letter, wherein 
you shall, if yon can, intimate over again what you have sometimes 
told me of the awe which is upon the hearts of your i""ies, with . . . 
unto the validity of the spectral evidences. 

Please also to . . . ^ome of your observations about the confessors 
and the credibility of what they assert, or about things evidently 
preternatural in the witchcrafts, and whatever else you may account 
an entertainment, for an inquisitive person, that entirely loves you 
and Salon. Nay, though I will never lay aside the character which 
I mentioned in my last words, yot I am willing, that, when you write, 
you should imagine me as obstinate a Sadducee and witch-advocate 
as any among us : address me as (me tliat believed nothing reasonable ; 
and when you have so knocked me down, in a spectre so unlike me, 
you will enable me to box it about among my neighbors, till it come — 
I know not where at last. 

But assure yourself, as I shall not wittingly make what you write 
prejudicial to any worthy design which those two excellent persons, 
Mr. Hale and Mr. Xoyse, may have in hand; so you shall find that I 
shall be, sir, your grateful friend, C. Matiikr. 

P. S. — That which very much strengthens the cbfxrms of the 
request which this letter makes you is, that His Excellency the 
IJovernor laid his positive commands upon me to desire this favor uf 
you; and the truth is, there are some of his circumstances with refer- 
ence to this affair, whicli I need not mention, that call for the expedit- 
ing of yoiu' kindness, — kiiuliu>is, I say, for such it will be esteemed as 
well by him as by your servant, C. ^Iatiikk. 

In oi'der to understand the character and aim of this letter, it 
will be necessary to consider its date. It was writti'U Sept. 20, 
h)\)-2. On the I'Jth of August, but one month before, Dr. Mather 




was acting a conspicuous part under tlie ;ralloAvs at Witcli-ln'U, at 
the execution ol" Mr. BinTuuulis and four otlii-rs, increasing the 
power of the awful delusion, ami inilaniing the passions of the peo- 
ple. On the I*th of .Se])tenil)('r, six more niiscrabU' creatures re- 
ceived sentence of death. On tlie 17th of Si-pti'mlter, nine more 
received sentence of death. On the lUth of September, (iih-s Cory 
was crushed to death. And, on tlie '2'2d of Scptenilx-r, eight were 
executed. These were the last that snlfered death. Tlie letter, 
therefore, was written while the horrors of the transaction were at 
their height, and hy a person who had himself been a witness of 
them, and whose "good ha})" it had been to " do somi'. little ser- 
vice" in i)ronioting them. The object of the wi'iter is declared to 
bt", that he might be " more capable to assist in lifting up a stand- 
ard against the infernal enemy." The literal meaning of this 
expression is, that he might be enabled to get up another witch- 
cralt delusion under his own special n<anagcment and control. 
Can any thin;; be imagined more artful and dishonest than the 
plan he had contrived to keep himself out of sight in all the opera- 
tions necessary to accomplish his purpose ? " Nay, though I will 
never lay asid.e the character which I mentioned in my last words, 
yet I am willing, that, when you write, you should imagine me as 
obstinate a Saddncee and witch-advocate as anv among us : ad- 
dress me as one that believed nothing reastniable ; and when you 
have so knocked me down, in a spectre so inilike me, you will 
enable me to box it about among mv neighbors, till it come — I 
know not where at last." 

Upon obtaining the document requisite to the fuUilment of his 
desifi;n, he did "box it about" so eirectually among his neighbors, 
that he succeeded that next snnuner in getting u\) a wonderful 
case of witchcraft, in the person of one Margan-t Rule, a member 
of his congregation in Boston. J)r. Mather iiublis!ie(l an account 
of her long-continued fastings, even unto the ninth day, and of the 
incredibh; sulferiny;s she endured irom the " iniernal enemy." 
*' She Avas thrown," says he, " into such exorbitant convulsions as 
were astonishing to the spectators in general. They that could 
behold the doh-lid condition of the poor family without sensible 
compassions might have entrails, indeed, but I am sure they 
could have no true bowels in them." So far was he succt'ssful in 
spreading the delusion, that he prevailed upon six men to testily 

'; 'i 








that tlicv liad seen Afarirarot Tliili! lifted bodily frnin her bed, and 
raised Ity an irivi>ilil(' power "so as to toiieli llie <:arret tloor ; " 
that she was eiiliii'ly I'enioved from the l»ed or any other niati-rial 
snp|)ort ; that she eontimu'd snspended for several nunutes ; and 
that a sti-oni,' man, assisted l)y several other persons, eonld not 
eU'ectiially i-esist the mysterious Hjree that litied her up, and 
])oised her alol't in the air! 'J'iie people of IJoston were saved 
from the horrors intenck'd to lie brou;>;ht upon them by this dark 
and (let'i)-laid plot, by the activity, e(nira,i!;e, and discernment of 
C'alef and otiiers, who distrusted Dr. ]\Iather, and, by watching 
his niovements, e\[){)se(l the imposture, and overthrew the whole 

jNlr. I'arris does not a])pear to have produced nnich elfeet by 
his sermons. The people had sull'ered i'nou<;h from the "war 
between the Devil and the Lamb," as he and Mather had con- 
ducted it ; and it could not ])e renewed. 

Innnediately upon the termination of the witchcraft proceed- 
iuirs, the controversy between ]\Ir. Parris and ihe congregation, 
or the inhabitants, as tiiey were called, ol' the village, was renewed, 
■with earnest resolution on their i)art to get rid of him. The ])arish 
neglected and relused to raise the means for paying his salary ; 
and a majority of the voters, in the meetings of the "inhal)itants," 
vigilantly resisted all attempts in his favor. The church was still 
completely under iiis inlhience ; and, as has been stated in the 
First Part, he made use of that body to institute a suit against 
the i)eople. Tlu' court and magistrates were wholly in his favor, 
and i)eremptorily ordered the appointment, by the people, of a 
new coimnittee. The iidiabitants complied with the order by the 
election of a new commit'iee, but took care to have it composed 
exclusively of men opposed to INIr. Parris ; and he found himself 
no better off than l)elbre. lie concluded not to employ his church 
any longi-r as a principal agent in his lawsuit against the parish ; 
but used it for another purpose. 

After the explosion of the witchcraft delusion, the relations of 
parties became entirely changed. The prosecutors at the trials 
were put on the defensive, and felt themselves in })eril. Parris 
saw his danger, and, Avith characteristic courage and fertility of 
resources, prei)are(l to defend himself, and carry the war upon 
any quarter from Avhich an attack might be apprehended. He 



1)0(1, and 
t tloor;" 

itf.s ; and 
•onld not 

up, and 
'lu tiavc'd 
this (lark 
nnicnt of 
the wliole 

ciri'ct by 
lie "Avar 
had con- 

'he parish 
s salary ; 
I was still 
.'d in the 
it aj^ainst 
liis tiivor, 
pU', of a 
cr by the 
1 himself 
is ehureh 
e parish ; 

ations of 
the trials 
. Parris 
rtility of 
viw upon 
led. lie 

continued, on his own responsil)ility, to prfjsccute, in court, his 
suit against the parisli. and in his usual treiiehaut stvle. As the 
law tlien was, a minister, in a controversy with his pai'ish. had a 
secure advanta^i'e, and absolutely coiumanded the sitiiallou, if his 
ehureh were with iiim. From the time of his settlement, I'arris 
had shaped his policy on this basis. He sou^^ht to make his 
church an imi)re<rnable Ibrlress aj^ainst his opponents, Ibit, to Ix- 
impreirnable, it was necessary that tiiere should be no enemies 
within it. A few disaU'ected brethren coidd at any time demand, 
and have a claim to, a nmtnal eoinicil ; and Mr. I'arris knew, 
that, before the investigations of such a council, his actions in the 
witchcraft prosecutions coidd iu)t stand. This ])erhaps su<r}xeste(l 
his movements, in Auiiiist, 1()!)2, ai^ainst Sanmel Xurse, tJohn Tar- 
bell, and I'eti'r Clovse. He did not at that time sucf'eed in 
{jettinnf i-id of tnem ; and they remained in the church, and', with 
the exception of Clovse. in the villaw. Thev mi^iit at anv time 
take the stej)s that would lead to a nuitual council ; and ^Ir. Parris 
was determined, at all events, to ])revent that. It was evident 
that the mend)ers of that family would insist upon satisfaction 
beinji; iifiven them, in and throu;j;h the churcl'., for the wronj^s he 
had done them. Althoug'h, in the absenc(! of C'loyse, but two in 
nunil)er, there was dan;j;er that sympathy for them mijiht reach 
othei's of the brethren. Thomas Wilkins, a meml)er in ;j;ood stand- 
ing, son of old Bray ^Vilkins, and a eonneetion of fJohn Willard, 
an intelligent and resolute man, had already Joined them. Pan-is 
felt that others might follow, and that whatever could be done to 
counteract them must be done quickly. He accordingly initiated 
proceedings in his church to rid himself of them, if not by excom- 
munieation, at least by getting them under discipline, so as to 
prevent tiie possibility of tluur dealing with him. 

This led lo one of the most remarkable pa^^-sages of the kind 
in the annals of the Xew-Kngland churches. It is narrated in 
detail by ^Ir. Parris, in his church rec(trd-book. It would not 
be easy to fmd anywhere an example of greater skill, wariness, 
or ability in a conllitt of this sort. On tlie one side is Mr. Pari'is, 
backed by his church and the magistrates, and aided, it is |)rob- 
able, by 'Sir. Xoyes ; on the other, three lmsl)au(lmen. They iiad 
no known backers or advisers; and, at Ireipient stages of the 
fencing match, had to parry or strike, without time to consult any 

h I 


■-MWv.. »,. 4. 




one. ^Fr. Parris was iiigt'tilons, quick, a groat stratt'<i;, and not 
ovcr-scnipnlous as to the use of his wcnpons. Nurse, Tarbeli, 
and Willvins wen; cautious, cool, steady, and persistent. Of 
course, they were wholly inexperieiu'cd in such tilings, and liable 
to make wrong moves, or to be driven or drawn to initenable 
grouiul. But they will not be foimd, I think, to have taken a false 
step from Ix'ginning to end. Their line of action was v-xtreuiely 
narrow. It was necessary to avoid all personalities, and every 
ai)pearance of passion or excitement ; to make no charge; against 
Mr. Pan-is that could touch the church, as such, or rellect upon the 
courts, magistrates, or any others that had taken part in the prose- 
cutions. It was necessary to avoid putting any thing into writing, 
with their names attached, which coidd in anv wav be tortured 
into a lil)el. Parris lets fall expressions which show that he was 
on the watch for something of the kind to seize upon, to transfer 
the movement from the church to the courts. Entirely unaccus- 
tomed to pu])lic speaking, these three fiirmers had to meet assem- 
blages composed of their opponents, and nuich wrought uj) against 
them; to make statements, and respond to interrogatories and 
propositions, the full and ultimate bearing of which was not always 
a))parent : any unguarded expression might l)e fatal to their cause. 
Their safety depended upon using the right word at the right time 
and in the ri";ht manner, and in withholdiu<r tlie statement of their 
grievances, in adequate force of language, until they were under 
the shelter of a council. If, during the long-protracted confe- 
rences and connnunications, they had tripped at any ])oint, allowed 
a phrase or s) liable to escape which might be made the ground of 
discipline or ct. nsurc, ail would be lost ; for Parris could not be 
reached but through a council, ami a council could not even 
be asked for except by brethren in full and clear standing. It 
was often attempted to ensnare them into making charges against 
the church ; but they kept their eye on Parris, and, as they told 
him more than once in the presence of the whole body of the 
people, on him alone. Limited as the ground was on which they 
could stand, they held it steadfastly, and finally drove him from 
his stronghold. 

On the first movement of J\lr. Parris ofTensively upon them, 
they connneneed their movement upon him. The method by 
which alone they could proceed, according to ecclesiastical law 




and the ])lat(orni of tlic clmrclifs, was precisely as it was under- 
stood to he laid down in Matt, xviii. I.VIT. I'ollowin^ tliose 
directions, Sannicl Nin-se tli'st calK'd alone upon Mr. I'arris, and 
privately made known his j^rievanees. Parris jjjavt! liini no satis- 
faction. Then, alter a due interval, Nurse, Tarhell, and AVilkina 
called u])on him toj^ether. lie refused to see them to;;ether, i)ut 
one at a tinu' was allowed to {f(j uj) into liis study. 'rarhiU and 
Nurse each spent an hour or more with him, leavin;jj no time for 
Wilkins, In these interviews, he not oidv liiiled to "ive satisliic- 
tion, but, accordiuf^ t(} his own account, treated them in the ccjol- 
est and most unleelinj;' manner, not allowing himself to utter a 
soothinjf word, ])ut actually reiterating his belief of the guilt of 
their mother; telling them, as he says, "that he hatl not seen 
sudicient grounds to vary his opinion. " Cloyse canm so(jn alter 
to the village, and had an interview with him l()r the same purpose. 
Parris saw them one only at a time, in order to preclude their 
taking the second step required by the gospel rule ; that is, to have 
a brother of the church with them as a witness. lie also took the 
ground, that they could not be witnesses for each other, but that 
he should treat them all as only one person in the transaction. A 
sense of the injustice of his conduct, or some other consideration, 
led William Way, another of the brethren, to go with them as a 
witness. Nurse, Tarbell, Wilkins, Cloyse, and Way went to his 
liouse toget'^-r. lie said that the four first were but one person 
in the case : but admitted that Way was a distinct person, a brother 
of accredited standing, and a witness. He esca])e<l, however, 
under the subterfuge that the gospel rule required " two or t/iree 
witnesses." In this way, the matter stood for some time ; Parris 
saying that tliey had not conq)lied with the conditions in ^latt. 
xviii., and thev maintaining that tin , ad. 

The course of Parris Avas fast dimini.-liing his hold upon the 
public confidence. It was plain that the disullected brethren had 
done what t^iey could, in an orderly way, to procure a council. 
At length, the leading clergymen here and in lioston, whose minds 
were oi)en to reason, thought it their duty to intei-pose their advice. 
They wrote to Parris, that he and liis church ought to consent to a 
council. They wrote a second time in stronger terms. Not daring 
to (piarrel with so large a portion of the clergy, Parris pretended 
to comply with their advice, but demanded a majorit}- of the coun- 







cil to be clioscn by lilm aiul Iiis cliiinli. TIic (bsairrdt'd brctliron 
insisted upon ;i liiir, iniitiial ('ouiicil ; each party to liavo tlircc 
niiiii,«itci'.x, with tlicir <lt'l('^Mt('s, in It. To this, I'arris had (Inally 
to aixi'ce. The (lissatislictl brctlirt'ti named, as one of tlicir three, 
a eliiirch at Ipswich. I'arris objected to tlie Ipswich cliiirch. 
The dissenting:; bretliren insisted that each side shonhl be free to 
select its respective three churches. Parris was not williu<f to have 
Ipswich iti the cotnicil. TIu! other party insisted, and here tin; 
matter hunjf suspen<lc<l. The truth is, that the disaU'ectcd l)reth- 
ren wert! resolved to have the Rev. John Wise in tlie council. 
They knew Cotton Mather would be there, on the side of Parris; 
and they knew that .John Wise was the man to meet him. The 
])ubric opinion settled down in favor of the dissatisfied brethren, 
on tlie <.!;rountl that each party to a mutual council ouf^lit to — and, 
to make it really mutual, nuist — have free and full power to nomi- 
nate the clmrehes to be called by it. Parris, lieini; afraid to have 
a mutual council, and particularly if ]Mr. Wise was in it, suddenly 
took a new position. lie and his church called an ex parte council, 
at which the Ibllowinj:; ministers, witli their delcfjates, were pres- 
ent : Samuel Ch.ckley of tlm New South Church, James Allen of 
'le First Church, Samuel Willard of the Old Soutli, Tncri-ase and 
Cotton Mather of the North Church. — all of Boston; Samuel 
Torrey of Wi'vinouth ; Samuel Phillips of Rowley, and Edward 
Payson, also of Rowley. Ainoufr the delegates were many of the 
leadinj^ piililic men of the province. The Result was essentially 
damagiu":; to Mr. Parris. The tide was now strongly set against 
him. The Boston ministers advised him to withdraw from the 
contest. They provided a settlement for him in Connecticut, and 
urged him to quit the village, and go there. But he refused, 
and prolonged the struggle. In the course of it, papers Avere 
drawn up and signed, one ])y liis friends, another by his oppo- 
nents, toiiether embracing nearlv all the men and women of the 
village. Those who did not sign either paper were understood to 
sympathize with the disalFected brethren. ]\Iany who signed the 
jiaper favoralile to hiiu acted undoubtedly from the motive stated 
in the heading; viz., that the removal of ^Iv. Parris could do no 
good, " for we have had three ministers removed already, and by 
every removal our tlilFerences have been rather aggravated." 
Another removal, they thought, would utterly ruin thv'u. They 




do not cxiyrcss any particiilar iiitciH'^t in Mr. I'arris, lnit merely 
•li'catl aniitlicr clian;^!'. 'i'licy pri'li-riTd to lirar llir ills they liatl, 
vatlicr tlian tlv to ndicrs liiat tlit'V knew nut of. It is a mtv si^- 
nilicant fact, that nfitliiT Mrs. Ann Putnam imr the widow Sarah 
Ilonhon siLifncil cithrr jiaptT (the Sarah llouhon wIiom- nanii' 
•ippcars was tiic wih- of Joseph llouhon, Sr.). 'riicrc is ri'as(»n 
to Ix'licvc tliat they rc^^rcttid thr part they had taken, |»artit'ularly 
a^iainst Rel)i'ica Nurse, and proliahly did not I'eel over I'avorahly 
to the jierson who had led them into their dreadful i'espoii>ii)ility. 

In tlie nil an time, the controversy continued to wax warm amonj; 
the people. Mr. I'arris was determined to hold his j)laee. aiid, with 
it, the parsoiia;!j;t' and ministry lands. The oppo>itioii was active, 
miappeasal)le, and ell'ective. Tiie lollowin<i paper, handed iiboiit, 
illustrates tiie methods i»y which they assailed him: — 

"As to tlio contest between Mr. I'arris anil his heari*)-'', &c., it may 
he composed by a satisfactory answer to Lev. xx. ti : ' And the soul 
that turnotli after sucli as liave familiar sjiirits, ami after wizanls, to {^o 
a-whoriiif^ after them, I will set my face aiiainst that soul, and will cut 
him ott" from amonj^ his people.' 1 Chron. x. 11!, 14 : ' So Sanl died 
for his transgression which he committed !i;;ainst the Lord, — even 
ajiainst the word of the Lord, which he kept not, — and also tor asking 
counsel of one wlio had a familiar to inquire of it, and inipiired not of 
the Lord : therefore he slew him,' " &c. 

Mr. Parris mirrored, or rather daj.i:nerrotype(l, his iinnost 
thou;j;hts upon the pajj;e of his church record-book. Whatever 
I'ei'linj;' haj)pened to exercise his spirit, (bund expression there. 
This gives it a truly rare and singular interest. Among a variety 
of scraps variegating the record, and thrown in with other notices 
of deaths, he has the following : — 

"1G94, Oct. 27. — Kuth, daughter to Job S\\-nnertou (died), and 
buried the 28th instant, being the Lord's Day ; and tue corpse carried by 
the meeting house door in time of singing before meeting afternoon, 
and more at the funeral than at the sermon." 

This illustrates the state of things. The Swinnerton familv 
were all ah)ng opposed to 3Ir. Parris, and kept renuirkably clear 
from the witchcraft delusion. Originally, it was not customary to 
have prayers at funerals. At any rate, all that ^Ir. Parris had 
to do on the occasion was to witness and record the fact, wdiich he 



inilitivs in the pilliy inaiiiK>r !ii which he often relieves ]ii,s uiiml, that 
more people went to the distant l)nriiil-<rnMinil than came to hear 
him preach. The procession was maile np oC his opponents; the 
c()n;.rre;i;ilion, ol" iiis Crii'nds, At hist, Captain .loini i'litnam pro- 
posed that each party should choose an e<pial ninnher from them- 
Midves to decide the controversy; and that ^lajor Bartliolomew 
(rcdney, Croni the town, shonld l)e invitcil to act an mo<lerator of 
the joint meeting;. Holh sides .a^xrced, and appointed their repre- 
sentatives. .Major (Jedney conscnt«'d to preside. IJnt this move- 
ment came to nothinj;, prol)al)ly owin;i' f" 'he reCractorines.s of Mr. 
Parris ; foi\ from that moment, he had no snpporlcrs. 'J'he church 
ceased to act : its members wci'c merjicd in the niectini,' of the 
inhaliitants. There was no lon^^cr any division anionj^; them. Tiio 
l)arty tiiat liad acted as friends of Mr. I'arris iniitc<l thenceibrvvard 
with his oppduents to defend the parish in the suit he had hronj^dit 
against it in tlu' courts. The controversy was ([uite ])rotracted. 
The Court was determined to ui»li(dd him, and expressed its preju- 
dice a^jjainst the parish, sometimes with considerable severity ol" 
numner and action.* 

* 'I'll!' following passnye is from tlic i)ari>li records: — 

"Oil the ild ol' Kthniary, IG'.i;;, a warrant was issued for a ineelinj; of tlie 
inlialiitants III' tlie village, sij^iied by Thomas I'restoii, Joseph I'ope, .losepli 
Iloiilton, niul John Tarbell, of tlie sfandiiif^ nmuial conuiiittee, to be lieUl 
Feb. 14, "to consider and aj^ree and determine who are capalile of votiiifj 
in our pMl)lic transactions, by tlie power (jiv i ns by tlie (ieiieral-eourt order 
at our lirst settlement; and to consider of atia nialie void a vote in our book 
of records, on the l^tii of June, 168!t, wliere there is a salary of sixty-six 
pounds stated to Mr. I'arris, he not complyiiij;" witii it; also to coiisidir of 
and make void several votes in the book of records on the Idtli of October, 
]tl!»2, where our iiiinistrx' house and barn and two aires of land seem to be 
conveyed floni us alter a fraudulent maimer." 

At this nu■etillJ,^ it was votid. that "all men that are ratable, or hereafter 
shall be li\inj;- within that tract of land mentioned in our (leneral-eourt 
order, shall have liberty in nominal iiiy and appointing; a conuiiittee, and 
votiii;;' in any of our ])iil)lic concerns." 

liy referriiij; to the account, in the First Part, of the controversy between 
the inhabitants of the viilaue and Mr. IJaylcy, "the j)ower" above alluded 
to, "j^iveii lis by tlie (iciieral Court," will be seen fully described. In its 
earnestness to fasten Mr. iJayley upon " the inhabitants," the Court elabor- 
ately ordained the system by which they should be constrained to provide for 
him, and compelled to raise the means of paying his salary. As no church 



! allmk'd 
. In its 
rt t'liil)ov- 
I'dviile tor 

Tlif pari;*!! liciMlrd not tin- frowns of llw Court, Init ]»tr»I>ii(l 
iii«'Xoral>l_v in its puipo-su to j^ct rid of Mr. I'arris. Alter an «ili>ti- 
natc contt'^t. it pn-vailfil. In the la.nt sta;.'i' ol" tin' rontrovcr^y, 
it a]»poiiitril lour nuMi, as it.n a;:('nt.s or attorut'\>, wlio.-i' nanu's 
indicate) tlic spirit in wiiidi it nctcd, — John TarlM'!!. Sanniul N'ur.xi', 
Daniel Audri'w, and .loscph I'utnani. His dauntli-ss .xoii diil not 
follow tlic widf throu;:li the deep and dark rcce.ssi's of liis den with 
!i more determined resolution than that with whieli .loseph Put- 
nam pursuetl SanuM'l I'arris throu;;h tlie wiinliuj:.> of liie law, until 
111' ferreti'd him out, and rid the vilhi;;e of him ll)r »'ver. 

linallv, tile iiderior eourt of ( 'ounnou Pleas, helori' which Mr. 
Parris had carried tin.' case, lU'dered that the matters in coiiti-o- 
versv lietweeu him and the iuhaliitants of Salem Villa'^e shophl lie 
relerred to ari)itrators lor decisiiui. The l(»llowin;f statement was 
laid hefore them liy the persons representing^ the inlial)ilants : — 

"To the IIi»\itmhle Wait M'inlliroj), /•'/IsIk: Cixik, anil Smnuil Si mill, 
J'Js(j>iiri'S, Arhilniliiis, liidijrt'niilli/ rhuKiH, htlwcvn Mr. Sumtui I'arris 
and the /ii/uihltdiits nf Salrin I "ilhuie. 

" Tlif. licinonsl ranees nf several Am/rievetl Persons in the said Villni/r, with 

further lliasons irhi/ thi\j eonerire tin if oiii/ht not to hear }fr. I'urris, nor 

to oH'n him as a Minisli r of the (josjul, nor to eontrdmte any Siijiport to 

him as siiih for several years past, hiimhly ojfind u< Jil for consideration. 

" Wo humbly conceive that, havinp, in April, IfiOl], ^'iven our rea- 
sons wiiy we could not join with Mr. I'arris in prayer, preaching, or 
sacramen , if these reasons are foimd siirtieient for our witlnlrawiiig 
(and we cannot yet llud but they are), then we conceive ourselves vir- 
tually discharged, not only in conscience, but also in law, which re- 
had tiuMi ln'oii or;;aiii/e(l, tiie ficneral Court fasti'iu'd tiii" iliity ujion '• JKUise- 
holders." The fact had not been torgotteii. ami tlii' al)ove vote showed that 
the parisli iiitfudod to hold on to tlie ]iowi'r thuti j;ivt'n tliuiu. Tills liij;idy 
incensed till' ( ourt ol'St's>ioiis. It ordered tlie jiai-i.-ii iiook of records to \>c 
produced Itefore it, and caused a (■oiideiniiatioii of siieli a claim of rij^dit to 
be written out. in open Court, <m Iho face of tlie record, wliere it is now to l)e 
seen. It is as I'oliows: — 

"At tile (ieiierai Sessions of tiio Tface iioideii at [ii<wiiii, Maiiii tiie 
28th, 1093. This Court havinj; viewed and considered tiie aliove a^'reenient 
or vote contained in tlie last live lines, tindini,' tlie same to lie reiuinnaiit 
to the laws ot' tins iirovincc, do declare the snine to lie null ami void, and 
that this order be recorded with tlie records of this Court. 

"Attest, Stki'Iien Skwall, Clerl:" 
VOL. II. 32 







qiiires maintenance to be given to such as are orthodox and blameless ; 
tiie said Mr. I'arris 1 .ivinj': been teacliing such dangerous errors, and 
preached such scandalous immoralities, as ought to discharge any 
(tiiougli ever so gifted ot'.ierways) from the work of the ministry, par- 
ticularly in his oath against the lives of several, wherein he swears that 
the prisoners with their looks knock down those pretended sufferers. 
We innnbiy conceive that he that swears to more than he is certain of, 
is equally guiltj- of perjury with him that swears to what is And 
though tliey did fall at such a time, yet it could not be known that they 
did it, mucii less could they be certain of it; yet did swear positively 
against the lives of such as he could not have any knowledge but they 
might be innocent. 

" His believing the Devil's accusations, and readily departing from 
all charity to persons, though of blameless and godly lives, upon such 
suggestions ; his promoting such accusations ; as also his partiality 
therein in stifling the accusaticjns of some, and, at the same time, vigi- 
lantly promoting others, — as we conceive, are just causes for our refu- 
sal, vS:c, 

" That Mr. Parris's going to Mary AValcot or Abigail Williams, and 
directing otliers to them, to know who afflicted the people in their ill- 
nesses, — we understand this to be a dealing with them that have a 
familiar spirit, and an implicit denying the providence of God, who 
alone, as we believe, can send afflictions, or cause devils to afflict any : 
this wo also conceive sufficient to justify such refusal. 

" That Mr. I'arris, by these practices and principles, has been the 
beginner and procurer of the sorest afflictions, not to this village only, 
but to this whole country, that did ever befall them. 

" We, the subscribers, in behalf of ourselves, and of several others of 

the same mind with us (touching these things), having some of us had 

our relations by these practices taken off by an untimely death ; others 

have been imprisoned and sufTerod in our persons, reputations, and 

estates, — submit the wiiole to your honors' decision, to determine 

whether we are or ought to be any ways obliged to honor, respect, and 

support such an instrument of our miseries ; praj-ing God to guide 

your honors to act herein as may be for his glory, and the future 

settlement of our village in amity and unity. 

'John Taruki.l, 

Samukl Nuhsk, 

Joseph IM-rNAM, 

Danikl Anuhew, 

Attorneys for the people of the Villa(je. 
Boston, July 21, 1G97." 



I l)lanicless ; 

errors, and 
cliarge any 
inistry, par- 

sweai's tliat 
id siittbrers. 
is certain of, 

false. And 
,vn that they 
ir positively 
Ige but they 

parting from 
:, upon such 
lis partiality 
le time, vigi- 
for our refu- 

rillianis, and 
I in their ill- 
that have a 
of God, who 
) afflict any : 

ins been the 
village only, 

cral others of 
me of us hiid 
eath ; others 
itations, and 

respect, and 
0(1 to guide 

1 the future 


}f the VilUuje. 

The arbitrators decided that the inliabitants sliotdd jiay to ^Ir, 
Parris a certain amount for arrearages, and also the sum of £7!*. 
*Xi. G'l. for all his right and interest in the ministry house and laml, 
and that he he foi'thwitli dismissed; and his ministerial ndatiuu to 
the church and society in Salem Village dissolved. 'J'lie ])arish 
raised the monev Avitli irreat alacritv. Nathaniel Inj^-ersol, who 
had, as has been staled, made him a present at his settli'iuent of 
a valuable piece of land adjoining the parsonage grounds, bought 
it back, ])ayiug him a liberal price for it, fully etpial to its value; 
and he left tlie place, so (iir as ap{)ears, lor ever. 

On the 1 1th of tFuly, KJIKI, in the midst of his controversy with 
his people, his wife died. She was an excelU'nt woman ; and was 
respected ami huuented by all. He caused a stone slab to 1)0 
placed at the head of her grave, with a suitable inscrii)tion, still 
plainly legil)le, concluding with four lines, to which his initials arc 
appended, composed by him, of which this is one : " Farewell, best 
wile, choice mother, neighbor, friend." Her ashes rest in what is 
calle<l the Wadsworth biu'ial ground. 

Mr. Tarris removed to Newton, then to Concord; ajid in 
November, 1(!'J7, began to preach at Stow, on a salary of forty 
pounds, half in money and half in ])rovisions, &c. A grant from 
the general court was relied upon from year to year to help to 
make up the twenty pouiuls to be paid in money. Afterwards he 
preacheil at Dunstable, partly supported by a grant from the 
cenoral court, and fmallv in Sudburv, where he died, Feb. 27, 
17:^0. His daughter Elizal)eth, who belonged, it will be remem- 
bered, to the circle of " alllictcd children" iu 101)2, then nine 
years of age, in 1710 nuxiried Benjamin Barnes of Concord. 
Two other daughters married in Sudbury. His son Noyes, who 
graduate<l at Harvard College in 1721, became deranged, and was 
supported by the town. IFis other sou Sanmel was long deacon 
of the church at Sudbury, and died Nov. 22, 17'J2, aged ninety- 
one years. 

In the "Boston News Letter," No. lioW, July IT), \1'M, is a 
notice, as follows : — 

"Any person or persons who know Mr. Samuel Parris, formerly 
of Barhadoes, afterwards of Boston in New England, merchant, and 
after that minister of Salem Village, &c., deceased to he a son of 
Tiiomas Parris of the island aforesaid, Esq. who deceased 1G73, or 






sole heir by will to all his estate in said island, are desired to {jive or 
• send notice thereof to the printer of this paper ; and it shall he for their 

Wlicliier the identity of jNIr. I'arris, of Salem Yilla;;(', Avith the 
son of Tiionias Parris, of Barbadoes, was eslalilished, we have no 
inl'orniation. If it was, some reliei" may have come to his descen- 
dants. There is every reason to believe, that, aller leavin;^ the 
villajj,v, he and his family suHered from extremely limited means, 
if not Irom absolute jioverty. The jfeneral ill-repute brought 
upon him by his conduct in the witihcrall prosecutions followed 
him to the last. He liad forli'ited the sympathy of his clerical 
brethren by his obstinate refusal to take their advice. They 
earnestly, over and over ayain, expostulated against his prolong- 
ing the controversy with the people of Salem Village, besought 
him to relinquish it, and promised him, if he would, to provide an 
eligible settlement elsewhere. They actually did provide one. 
lUit he ri'jected their counsels and persuasions, in expressions of 
ill-concealed bitterness. So that, when he was finally driven away, 
they li'lt luider no obligations to beiriend him; and with his emi- 
nent abilities he eked out a precarious and inadequate maintenance 
ibr himself and liunily, in feeble settlements in outskirt towns, 
during the rest of his days. 

It is didicult to describe the character of this unl'ortunate man. 
Just as is the condenmation which facts compel history to pro- 
nounce, 1 have a feeling of relief in the thouglit, that, before the 
tribunal to which he so long ago })assed, the mercy we all shall 
need, which comprehends all motives and allows Ibr all infirmi- 
ties, has been extended to him, in its infinite wisdom and benignity. 

lie was a man of unconnnon abilities, of extraordinary vivacity 
and activity of intellect. He does not appear to have been willidly 
malevolent ; although somewhat reckless in a contest, he was not 
deliberately untruthful ; on the contrary, there is in his statements 
a singidar ingenuousness and fairness, seldom to be found in a 
partisan, much more seldom in a principal. Although we get 
almost all we know of the examinations of accused parties in the 
witchcraft proceedings, and of his long contentions with his j)arish, 
from* him, there is hardly any ground to regret that the parties on 
the other side had no friends to tell their story. A transparency 



o pive or 
e lor their 

, with the 
I have no 
s dc'scrn- 
iviiig the 
il iiK'ans, 
I brought 
s clerical 
e. They 
rovide an 
,'ide one. 
issions of 
k'en aAvay, 
1 his enii- 
rt towns, 

late man. 
to pro- 
el'ore the 

all shall 
1 infinni- 
,' vivacity 
n willully 

was not 
mid in a 
1 we get 
es in the 
is parish, 
)artles on 

of character, a sort of instinctive incontinency of mind, wliicli 
made liim let out every thing, or a sort of lilindness which jtre- 
vented his seeing the bearings of what was said and done, make 
his reports the veliicles fd'tlie materials for the ded-nce ol" tiie very 
persons he was ])rosecuting. J know of no instance like it. His 
style is lucid, graphic, lively, natural to the highest degree; and 
whatever he descril)es, we see the whole, and, as it were, from all 
points of view. Language flowed from his i)en witli a facility, 
simplicity, e.\])ressiven(>ss, and accuracy, not surpassed or often 
ecpialied. lit; wrote as men talk, using c(»IIoquial expression.s 
without reserve, l)ut always to the ]»oiiit. When we read, we 
hear him; ablireviating names, and clipping words, as in the 
most familiar and unguarded conversation. lie was not hampered 
by fear of oflending the rules which some think necessary to dig- 
nify composition. In his ofl'-hand, free and easy, gossiping entries 
in the church-book, or in his carefully prepared productions, like 
the " Meditations for Peace," read before iiis church and the dis- 
satisfied brethren, we have spec^imens of plain good English, in its 
most ti'anslucent and elTective forms. Considering that his aca- 
demi<' education was early ])roken ofl", and many intermediate 
years were s[)ent in connnt-rcial j)ursuits, his learning an<l attain- 
ments are ([uite remarkable. The various troubles and tragic 
mischiefs of his life, the terrible wrongs he inflicted on others, and 
the retributions he brought upon himself, are traceable to two or 
three peculiarities in his mental and moral organization. 

He had a passion for a scene, a cei'emony, an evitemcnt. He 
delighted in the exercise of power, and rejoiceu in coullicts or 
commotions, from the exhilaration tlii'V occasioned, and the oppor- 
tunity they gave for the gratification of tiie activity of his nature. 
He pursued the object of getting possi'ssion of the ministry house 
and land with such desperate pertinacity, not, I think, from ava- 
ricious motives, but for the sake of the jxtwer it would give him 
as a considerable landholder. His love of form and ])ulilic excite- 
ment led him to operate as he did with his chiinh. He kept it in 
contiiuial action during the few years of his ministry. He had at 
least seventy-five special meetings of that body, without counting 
those which proliably occurred without numlx'r, but of which 
there is no record, during the six montiis of tlic witclirraft period. 
Twice, the brethren gave out, wholly exhausted : ami tiie i»owers 










1 ■.■' ' 


of the cliiircli wcro, by vote, transferred to a s| ecial coniinittce, to 
act in its helialf, coniijoscd of persons who had time and strength 
to spare. I'mt ^Ir. Parris, never weary of excitement, wonld have 
been delij^hted to preside over ehnreh-meetings, and to he a i)ar- 
ticipator in vehement ))roeeedinys, every day of his life. The 
more noisy and lieated the contention, the more he enjoyed it. 
During all the transactions connecteil with the witchcrafb prosecu- 
tions, he was everywhere present, always Avido awake, full of 
animation, if not cheerfulness, and ready to take any part to carry 
them on. These pro])ensities and dispositions were fraught with 
danger, and prolific of evil in his case, in consequence of Avhat 
looks very much like a total want in himself of many of the natural 
human sensibilities, and an inal)ility to apprehend them in others. 
Through all the horrors of the witchcraft prosecutions, he never 
evinced the slightest sensibility, and never seemed to be aware 
that anybody else had any. It was not absolute cruelty, but the 
absence of i.hat may be regarded as a natm'al sense. It was not 
a positive wickedness, but a negative defect. He seemed to be 
surprised that other jjeople had sentiments, and could not under- 
stand why Tarbell an.d Xurse lelt so badly about the execution of 
their mother. lie told tliem to their faces, without dreaming of 
giving them olfence, that, while they thought she was innocent, and 
he thought she was guilty and had been justly put to death, it was a 
mere dillerence of opinion, as about an indilfereiit matter. In his 
" ?Ieditati(jns for Peace," presented to these dissatisfied brethren, 
Ijr the pn pose and with an earnest desire of appeasing them, he 
tells them that the indulgence of such feelings at all is a yielding 
to " te:nptation," being under "the clouds ol' human weakness," 
.and " a bewraj'iug of remaining cori'U})tion." Imleed, the theology 
of that day, it nnist be allowed, bore v(.ry hard upon even the best 
and most sacred alfections of our nature. The council, in their 
Result, allude to the leelings of those whose parents, and other 
most loved and honored relatives and connections, had been so 
cruelly torn from them and ))ut to death, as "infirmities discov- 
ered l)y them in such an heart-breaking day,"' ami bespeak for 
their grief and hunentations a charitable construction. They ask 
the church, whose hands weri' red with the blood of their innocent 
and dearest friends, not to pursuit them witli " more critical and 
vigorous proceedings" in conse(]uence of their exhibiting these 

{ if: 



natural sensil)ilitic'S on tliu occafiion, Imt " to treat tlicin with 
bowi'ls oC niiidi compassion." These views had taken lull lileit 
upon ]Mr. I'arris, and obhterated from his breast all siieh *' iudrmi- 
ties.'' This is the only explanation or apoloy;y that can be made 
for him. 

Of the history of Cotton Mather, subsecpiently to the witehcraft 
prosecutions, and more or less in conse([uence of jiis ai,fencv in 
them, it may be said that the residue of his life was doouuM. to dis- 
ai)i)ointment, and imbittered by rei)r()ach and defeat, 'flie storm 
of fanatical delusion, which lie doubted not would carry him to the 
hei<,dits of clerical and spiritual power, in America and everywhere, 
had left him a Avreck. His political aspirations, always one of his 
stronji'cst ])assions, were wholly blasted; and the ;:,reat aim and 
crown of his ambition, the Presidency (jf Harvard C'ollejj;e, once 
and aj^ain and for ever had eluded his <^rasp. 1 leave him to tell 
his storv, antl reveal the state of his mind and heart in his own 
most free and full expressions from his private diary for the year 

" 1. Wliat has a gracious Lord helped mo to do for the scufarhvj 
trihc, in praj'ers for them, in sermons to them, in books bestoweil upon 
them, and in various i)rojectious and endeavors to render tlie sailors a 
happy generation ? And yet there is not a man in the world so re- 
viled, so slandered, so cursed among sailors. 

"2. What lias a gracious Lord helped me to do for the instruction 
and salvation and comfort of the jioor negroes i And yet some, on 
purpose to affront mc, call their negroes liy the name of COTTON 
MATIIEli, that so they may, with some shadow of truth, assert 
crimes as committed by one of that name, wiiich the hearers take to 
be Mc. 

"3. What has a gracious Lord given me to do for the jirofit and 
honor of the fem.ale sex, especially in iHihlishing the virtuous and 
laudable characters of holy women '. And yet wliere is the niaii 
whom the female sex have spit more of their venom at '. I have 
cause to question whether there are twice ten in the town but what 
have, at some time or other, spoken hasclij of mo. 

"4. Wiiat has a gracious Lord given me to do, that I may lie a 
blessing to my relatives ? T keep a catalogue of tlioiii, ami not a week 
passes me without some good devised for some or other of them, till I 
have taken all of them under my cognizance. And yet where is the 
man who has been so tormoutod with such ni'tnstrous relatives ' dob 
said, ' / am a brother to dntijons.' 



I i|l!1||!l''.r'' ;[ 

! ;l 


; I 




" 5. "Wliat lias a gracious Lord given me to do for tlie vindication 
and reputation of tlie Scottish nation ? And yet no Englislinian has 
been so vilified by tlie tongues and pens of Scots as I have been. 

" 0. What has a gracious Lord given me to do for the good of the 
country, in applications without number for it in all its interests, be- 
sides publications of things useful to it and for it ? And yet there is 
no man whom tiie country so loails with disrespect and calumnies and 
manifold expressions of aversion. 

" 7. What has a gracious Lord given me to do for the upholding 
of the government, ami the strengthening of it, and the bespeaking of 
regards unto it? And j-et the discountenance I liave almost per- 
petually received from the government ! Yea, the indecencies and 
in<ligiiiiies which it has multiplied upon me are such as no other man 
has been treated w'th. 

" 8. What has a gracious Lord given me to do, that the College 
may be owned for the brinr' g forth such as are somewhat known in 
the world, and have read ai; wrote as much as many have done in other 
places ? And yet the College for ever i>uts all possible marks of dis- 
esteem upon me. If I were the greatest blockhead that ever came 
from it, or the greatest blemish that ever came to it, they could not 
easily show me more contempt t lan they do. 

" 9. What has a gracious Lord given me to do for the study of 
a projitdhlc cutn-crsfttioit / For nearly fifty years together, I have hardly 
ever gone into any company, or had any coming to me, without some 
explicit contrivance to speak something or other that they might be 
the wiser or the better for. And yet my company is as little sought 
for, and there is as little resort unto it, as any minister that I am 
acquainted with. 

" 10. What has a gracious Lord given me to do in (jood offices, 
wherever I could find opportunities for the doing of them ? I for ever 
entertain them with alacrity. I have offered pecuniary recompenses 
to such as would advise me of them. And yet I see no man for whom 
all are so loth to do good offices. Indeed I find some cordial friends, 
but hoir few! Often have I said. What would I give if there were any 
one man in the world to do for me wbra I am willing to do for every 
man in the world ! 

" 11. What has a gracious Lord given me to do in the writing of 
many books for the advancing of piety and the promoting of his king- 
dom ? There are, I suppose, more than three hundred of them. And 
yet I have had more books written against me, more pamphlets to tra- 
duce and reproach me and belie me, than any man I know in the world. 

" 12. What has a gracious Lord given me to do in a variety of 



services? For many lustres of years, not a day lias passed me, without 
some devices, even written devices, to be serviceable. And yet my 
8ufferinj,fs ! Tliey ^eem to be (as in reason tlicy should be) more than 
my services. Everybody points at me, and speaks of me as by far 
the most afflicted minister in all New England. Ami many look on 
me as the greatest sinner, because the greatest sufferer; and are pretty 
arbitrary in their conjectures ujjon my punished miscarriages." 

" iJiuri/, Minjl, 1724. — The sudden death of the uidiappy man 
who sustained the place of President in our College will open a door 
for my doing singular services in the best of interests. I do not know 
that the care of the College will now be east upon me, though I am 
told that it is what is most generally wished for. If it should be, 1 
shall be in abundance of distress about it ; but, if it should not, yet 
I may do many things for the good of the College more quietly and 
more hopefully than formerly. 

"Juno 5. — The College is in great hazard of dissipation and griev- 
ous destruction and confusion. My advice to some that have some 
influence on the public may be seasonable. 

"Jill;/ 1, 1724. — This day being our insipid, iU-mut rival aimivrrmiij, 
which V. ^ call the Cominenrcment, I chose to .spend it at home in supj)li- 
cations, partly on the behalf of the College that it may not be foolishly 
thrown away, but that God may bestow such a President upon it as 
may prove a rich blessing unto it and unto all our churches." 

On the ISth of Xovember, 1724, the corporation of Harvard 
College elected the llev. Benjamin Colnian, pastor of the lirattle- 
street Church in Boston, to the vacant presidential chair. He 
declined the appointment. The question himg in suspense an- 
other six months. In June, 172."), the Rev. Benjamin Wadsworth, 
pastor of the First Ciunvh in Boston, was elected, accept(Ml the 
oflice, and held it to Iiis (h'ath, on the 16tli of ^farch, 17.')7. It 
may easily be imagined how keenly these repeated .-lights were 
felt by Cotton Mather. He died on the loth of February, 

From the early part of the sp"ing of 109."), when the abortive 
attempt to settle the difllcutty between Mr. Parris and the people 
of the village, by the umpirage of ^lajor Gcflncy, Avas made, it 
evidently became the settled purpose of the leading men, on both 
sides, to restore harmony to the i)lace. On all committees, persons 
who had been prominent in oi)positio!i to each other were joined 
together, that, thus co-operating, they might become reconciled. 


§t r, 

hi !! 

i^ ' 

,.' : I 

tit&fe'-.' ffaE»<twi«!W9i 



U J 





■ r' 






This is strikin^^ly illustrated in the'" seatiiijf oftlio mootinfr-house," 
as it was calU'd. In HV.iU, in a scat acconniKKJatin;,' tlircc persons, 
John I'litnani the son of Nathaniel, and finhn Tarbell, were two of 
the three. Another seat for three was occupied liy .lames and .John 
Putnam, sons of John, and l)y Thomas Wilkins, Thomas I'utnam 
and .Sanniel Xurse were placed in the same seat ; and so were the 
wives of Thomas Putnam and Sanuiel Nurse, and the widow 
Sarah Iloidton. The widow Preston, dauj;hter of Rehecca Xurse, 
was seated with the widow Wulcot, mother of J\Iarv, one of the 
accusing yirls. 

We se(! in this the ed'ect of the wise and d«cisive course adopted 
by Mr. Pariis's siu-cessor, the Rev. Joseph Green, lunnediately 
upon his ordination, Nov. 10, 1(JI>S, he addressed himself in ear- 
nest to the work of reconciliation in that distracted parish. From 
the date of its existence, nearly thirty yi'ars before, it had been 
torn by constant strife. It had just passed throuj;h scenes which 
had brouLiht all hearts into the most terrible alienation. A man 
of less liiith would not have believed it ])ossible, that the horrors 
and outrafi't's of those scenes could ever be ibrgotten, Ibrgiven, or 
atoned lor, by those who had sull'ered or couunitted the wronj^s. 
But he knew the infinite power of the divine lovi', Avhich, as a min- 
ister of Christ, it was his olHce to inspire and diffuse. He knew 
that, with the blessing of God, that people, who had from the first 
been devouring each other, and upon whose garments the stain of 
the blood of l)rethren and sisters was fresh, might be made " kind 
one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as 
God for Christ's sake hath forgiven" them. In this heroic and 
Christ-like faith, he entered upon and steadfastly adhered to his 
divine work. He pursued it with patieiu'e, wisdom, and courageous 
energy. No ministry in the whole history of the Xew-Kngland 
chui'ches has had a more difUcult task put upon it, and none has 
more perfectlv succeeded in its labors. I shall describe the admin- 
istration of this good man, as a minister of reconciliation, in his 
own words, transcribed from his church records : — 

" Nov. 25, 1GU8, being spent in holy exercises (in order to our pre- 
paration for tiie sacrament of tiie Lord's Supper), at Joim rutnam, 
Jr.'s, after the exercise, I desired the churcii to manifest, by the usual 
sign, tiiat they were so cordially satisfied with their brethren, Tiiomas 
Wilkins, John Tarbell, and Samuel Nurse, that they were heartily 




desirous that tlioy would join witli us in all ordinances, tliut so we 
niijfjit all live lovinj^ly to<>i'tiier. Tiiis they consented unto, and none 
made any olyection, but voted it by lifting,' up tlieir hands. And fur- 
ther, that wiiatever articles tlicy had drawn ui) against these bretlireu 
formerly, they now looked upon them as notliin<r, but let tiieni fiUl to 
tile gn^und, being willing tiiat they sliould l)e buried for ever. 

"Feb. 5, Itl'.l'J. — This day, also our brother .John Tarbell, and his 
wife, and Thomas Wilkins and his wite, and Samuel Nurse's wife, 
joined with us in the Lord's Supper ; which is a mutter of thankful- 
ness, seeing they have for a long time been so oflended as that they 
could not comlbrtably join with us. 

" 1702. — In December, the pastor spake to the church, on the sab- 
bath, as followeth : 'Brethren, I find in your church-book a record of 
Martha Corey's being excommunicated for witchcraft; and, the gene- 
rality of the land being sensible of the errors that prevailed in that 
day, some of her friends have moved me several times to projjose to 
the church whether it be not our duty to recall tliat sentence, that so 
it may not stand against her to all generations ; and I myself being a 
stranger to her, and being ignorant of what was alleged against her, I 
shall now only leave it to your consideration, and shall determine the 
matter by a vote the next convenient oj)portunity.' 

"Feb. 14, ITOg. — The major part of the brethren consented to the 
following: ' Where vs this church passed a vote, Sept. 11, ltj'J'2, for 
the excommunication of Martha Corey, and that sentence was pro- 
nounced against her Sept. 1-1, by JNIr. Saiuuel I'arris, formerly the 
pastor of this churcii ; she being, before her excommunication, con- 
denmed, and afterwards executed, for sui»posed witchcraft ; and there 
being a record of this in our church-book, page 12, we being moved 
hereunto, do freely consent and heartily desire that the same sentence 
may be revoked, and that it may stand no longer against her ; for we 
are, through (iod's mercy to us, convinced that we were at that dark 
day under the power of those errors which then prevailed in the land ; 
and we are sensible that we had not sufficient grounds to think her 
guilty of that crime for which she was condenuied and executed; and 
that her exconnnunication was not according to the mind of (iod, 
and therefore we desire that tliis may be entered in our cliurch-book, 
to take oH" that odium that is cast on her name, and tha^ so God may 
forgive our sin, and may be atoned tor the land; and we humbly pray 
that God will not leave us any more to such errors and sins, but will 
teach and enal)le us always to do that which is right in his sight.' 

" Tliere w is a major part voted, and six or seven dissented. 





; 4\ 

' '-M 


m ' 









The Fii'st riiunli in Siilciii rcsciiidcd its votes of excommuni- 
cation of Rc'liecca Xiirso and (iilcs Corey, in ^larcli, 1712. The 
elmrch at the villa;j(' was nearly ten years hefore it, in this act of 
justice to itself antl to the memory of the injuretl dead. Mr. 
Green dio not wait until the puhlic sentiment drove him to it. 
lie re;;arded it as his duty to lead, and keep in front of that senti- 
ment, in the ri;jht direction. lie did not wait until everybody 
demanded it to l)e done, hut instantly he^jan to prepare his people 
for it. At the ]>roper time, he fjave notice that he was about to 
bring the (piestion before them ; and he aecordinjily did so. He 
had no idea of allowinff a few narrow-minded, obstinate individuals 
to keep the blot any lon<j;er upon the records of his church. His 
conduct is honoratjle to his name, and to the name of the vil!a<ie. 
By wise, prudent, but persistent efforts, lie gra<lually repaired 
every breach, br';u<;ht his parish out from under reproach, and set 
them ri^^ht with each other, with the oblijrations of justice, and 
with the spirit of Christianity. It is aifectinj^ to read his ejacula- 
tions of praise and <:;ratitnde to God lor every sym])tom of the 
prevalence of harmony and love amc.ig the people ol' his charge. 

The man who extinguished the hres of passion in a comnumity 
that had ever before been consumed by them deserves to be held 
in lasting honor. The historv of the witchcrall delusion in Salem 
Village would, iiuh'ed, be imjierfectly written, if it failed to present 
the character of him Avho healed its wounds, obliterated the traces 
of its malign influence on the hearts and lives of those who acted, 
and repaired the wi'ongs done to the memory of those who suflered, 
in it. Joseph Green had a manly and amiable nature. He was 
a studious scholar and an able preacher. He was devoted to 
his ministry and faithful to its obligations. He was a leader of his 
people, and shared in their occupations and experiences. He was 
active in the ordinary employments of life and daily concerns of 
society. Possessed of indei)endent property, he was frugal and 
simple iii liis habits, and liberal in the use of his means. The par- 
sonage, while he lived in it, Avas the abode of hospitality, and 
frequented by the best society in the neigli])orhood. liy mingled 
firmness and kindliness, he met and removed difliculties. He had 
a cheerful temperament, Avas not irritated by the course of events, 
even Avhen of an unpleasant character. While Mr. Noyes Avas 
disturbed, even to resentment, by encroachments upon his parish, 



\-J. Tl.c 
liis act of 
ul. Mr. 
liiii to it. 
hat st-nti- 
lis people 

al)oiit to 
1 so. He 
Th. His 
e villaffo. 

1, and set 
it ice, and 
s c'jacula- 
ni of the 


be hehl 

n Salem 
o present 
he traces 

lo acted, 

He was 
voted to 
ler of his 
He was 
icevns of 
iiijal and 

The par- 
lity, and 


He had 

f events, 

lyes was 

s parish, 

in the formation of new societies in the middle precinct of Salem, 
now S(nith Danvers, and in tlie second precinct ol licverly, now 
Ujjper Beverly, Mr. (ireen, althongh tiiey drew away from him 
.as many as fnMii Mr. Noyes, Avent to participate in the raisin;r of 
tlieir meeting-iiouses. Ol' a genial disposition, he eountenanct'd 
innocent amusements. He was fond of the sports of the held. 
The eatanjount was among the tropliies of his sure aim, and he 
came home with his huntsman's hag fdled with wild pigeons. He 
would take his little .sons helore and hehind him on his horse, and 
spend a day with them fishing and t()wling on Wilkins's I'ond ; 
and, when Indians threatened the settlements, he would slniuhkr 
his musket, join the hravi; young men of his parish, and lie the 
first in the encounter, and the last to relinijuish the pursuit of 
the savage foe. 

He was always, everywhere, a peacemaker; by his genial man- 
ner, and his genuine dignity and decision of character, he re- 
moved dissensions from his church and neighborhood, and secured 
the respect while he won the love of all. That si;ch a person was 
raised up and placed where he was at that time, was truly a 
providence of God. 

The part performed in the witchcraft tragedy by the extraor- 
dinary child of twelve years of age, Ann Putnam, has been fully set 
forth. As has been stated, both her parents (and no one can meas- 
ure their share of responsibility, nor that of others behind them, for 
her con<luct) died within a fortnight of each other, in IG'Jl). She was 
thei nineteen years of age; a large family of chihlren, all younger 
thu I herself, was lefl with her in the most melancholy orphanage. 
How many there were, we do not exactly know : eight survived 
her. Although their uncles, Edward and Joseph, were near, and 
kind, and able to care for them, the burden thrown ni)on her must 
have been great. Witii the terrible remembrance of tiie scen(!S 
of lGt)2, it was greater than she ( ould bear. Her health began to 
decline, and she was long an invalid. Under the tender and faith- 
ful guidance of Mr. Green, she did all that she could to seek the 
forgiveness of God and man. After consultations with hin), in 
visits to his study, a confession was drawn up, which she desired 
publicly to make. Upon conferring with Soiuuel Nurse, it was 
found to be satisfactory to him, as the represjntative of those who 
had suffered from her testimony. It was /ler desire to offer this 


•: I 


» 1 

! « 

: m 



!■' \ 




roiifcssloii ami a profossioti of n-Ii;,n(>ii at the saiiic time. Tim ilay 
was llxcil, and madf known to the piililic. ( )ii the L'ofli of Aii;;ii.xt, 
I7"(). a j^n-at concourse a^s{'nllllcll in the incctinjr-lionsi'. Lar^'** 
nmnlicrs came from other places, j)articMhirly from the town of 
Salem. Tin; lollowinj; (iociiment, iiavin;; hi'''ii jndf^eii siillieient 
and snitahle, was written out in the chnrch-hook the eveninj^ 
before, and sijined l)y her. It was read hy the pastor l)efore llm 
r()n;:re;fation, who were seated; she standin;^ in her phu-e while it 
was read, and ownin;; it as hers l)y a declaration to that ell'eet at 
its close, and also acknowled;^injf the si^^naturu. 

" T/ii' C'uiifi.ssioii of'Aiiiir' Piihioin, irfirn s/ic was rfcc'ivcd to Com- 
' viiiiudii, 1700. 

" I desire to ho lunnhlcd liefore (Jod for that snd and iiiunhling 
providence that l)t'feli my father's family in the year about '02; that I, 
tiien lieinfr in my childiiuod, siiuuld, hy such a providence of (iotl, be 
made an instrument for tiiu accusing of several iieisons of a grievous 
crime, wliereby tlieir lives were taken away from them, whom now I 
have just grounds and gond reason to believe they were innocent per- 
sons; and that it was a great delusion of iSatan that deceived me in 
that sad time, whereby I justly fear 1 have been instrumental, witli 
others, though ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon myself and 
this laud the guilt of innocent blood; though what was said or done 
by me against any person I can truly and uprightly say, before (Jod 
and man, I did it not out of any anger, nuUice, or ill-will to any per- 
son, t()r I had no such thing against one of them ; but what I did was 
ignorantly, being deluded by Satan. And particularly, as I was a 
chief instrument of accusing of (ioodwife Nurse and her two sisters, 
I desire to lie in the dust, and to be humbled for it, in that I was a 
cause, with others, of so sad a calamity to them and their fannlies ; for 
which cause I desire to lie in the dust, and earnestly beg forgiveness 
of God, and from all those unto whom I have given just cause of sor- 
row and offence, whose relations were taken away or accused. 


€unxi0 (f*^-^"-*"^ 

" This confession was read before tlie congregation, together with 
her relation, Aug. 25, 170L> ; and she acknowledged it. 

"J. Grefx, Pastor. 

This paper shows the baleful influence of the doctrine of Satan 



Tl.c (lay 
f Aiijiii.xt, 
L'. Lar;^!^ 
.' town <»f 

' ('V('iiin<^ 
bcforo the 
'(• wliilc it 
t elluct at 

)li; that I, 
>f God, be 
I grievous 
loin now I 
locont per- 
veil nie in 
ntal, witli 
lysc'lf and 
id or done 
etbre God 

any per- 

1 (Hd was 
s I was a 
wo sisters, 
t I was a 
nilies ; for 
jse of sor- 

-«'WT • 

;ther with 

;x, Pastor. 
of Satan 

thon rorcivcd. Tt airnrch'tl n rcHi;,*' nnd escape frnni tlic coni- 
]tiiii< tlons (»r ('onxcjciiic. The hiad of sin was easily thinwn m|hiii 
tilt' !iacl\ of Satan. Tliis yonni^ woman was nndonlilcdly sinrcrc 
in hi-r penitence, and was forgiven, we trust and Relieve; hnt she 
faih'd to see the ileptli of lier iniipiity, and of tiio>e wlio insti;,Mted 
and aidetTIier, in lier- liilse ac<'iisations. Tlie Idanie. and the deeij, 
were wiioliy liers and tjicii's, Satan had no sliare in it. llMinan 
res])onsil)i!ity cannot thus he avoith-d. 

AVhih', in a certain sense, she imputes the Idame to Satan, this 
dechiration ofAnn Putnam is conchisive evi<!ence that she and her 
eonlederale accusers did not heheve in any comnninications iiavin;; 
been mach' to them by iiivisilih' spirits of any kiml. Tho>e per- 
sons, in our day, who ima^iinc tliat tliey hold intercourse, i»y rap- 
piiiff or otherwise, with s|)iritu;d licin;.'s, have sometimes found 
ar^^uments in (avoi- of their lieiiel' in liie phenomena of tlie witch- 
crall trials. 15ut Ann Putnam's conies.sion is decisive a<,'ainst this. 
If she had really received from invisible 1)^11^^^, subordinate spirits, 
or the spirits of deee;iM(l persons, the matters to which slu^ testi- 
fied, or ever believed that she had, she woidd have said so. {)n 
the contrary, she declares that she had no foundation whatevi-r, 
from any source, for what she said, but was under tlu; subtle and 
mysterious inlhience ol" the Devil himself. 

She died at about the aj^(! of thirty-six years. Ilerwill is dated 
May 20, 171."), and was presented in probate ffune 21', 17K). Its 
preaml)le is as follows : — 

"In tlie name of God, amen. I, Anne Putnam, of tiie town of 
Salem, single woman, being oftentimes siek and weak in body, but 
of a disposing mind and memory, blessed be Ciod ! and calling to mind 
the mortality of my body, and that i; is appointed for all men once to 
die, do make this my last will and testament. First of all, I recom- 
mend my sj)irit into the bands of God, tbrongb tiesus t'brist my 
Redeemer, with whom I hope to live for ever; and, as for my body, I 
commit it to the earth, to be buried in a Christian and decent manner, 
at the discretion of my executor, hereafter named, nothing doubting 
.but, by the mighty power of God, to receive the same again at the 

She divided her land to her four brothers, and her personal 
estate to her four sisters. 

It seems that she was frequently the subject of sickness, and 



' I 


; I 

her l)o(lily powors muoli woakoncd. The probability is, that the 
lon<^-('()HtiiiiK'(l .strain ke]jt upon lier muscular and nervous organi- 
zation, (liirin.'r ihc ivitcln rjl scenes, had destroyed her constitution. 
Such uninterrupted an, I vehement exercise, to their utmost tension, 
of" the in)a<^inat.,e, intellectual, and physical powers, in crowded 
and her.ted r(K)ms, hefore the Dublic gaze, and under the leverish 
and crusumiug influence of bewildering and all but delirious ex- 
citement, could hardly fail to sap the foundations of health in so 
young a chiM. The tradition is, that she had a slow and fluctuating 
decline. The Kinguage of her will intimates, that, at intervals, 
there were ajtparent checks to her disease, and rallies of strength, 
— " ofteutiiut -^ sick and weak in body." She inherited from her 
mother a sensiuve and fragile constitution , l)ut her father, although 
brought to the grave, probably by the terrible resj)()usibilities and 
ti'ials in which he had been involved, at a comparatively early age, 
belonged to a lo)ig-Iived race and neighborhood. The opposite 
elements of her composition struggled in a protracted contest, — on 
the one si(te, a nature morbidly subject to nervous excitability 
sinking under the exhaustion of an overworked, overburdened, 
and shattered svste'n; on the other, tenacity of life. The conflict 
continued w'Ui alternating success for years; but the latter gave 
way at last. Jlcr story in all its aspects, is worthy of the study 
of the psychologist, lior confession, profession, and death point 
the moral. 

The Kev. Joseph Croer: died Nov. 2(), 1715. The following 
tribute to his memory is inscribed on the records of the church. 
It is in the liaudwriting, and style of thought and language, of 
Deacon Edward I'utnam. 


" Tlien was the choicest flower and greenest olive-tree in the garden 
of our God liere cut down in its })rime and flourisliing estate at tlie age 
of forty years and two days, wlio liad been a faithful ambassador from 
God to us eighteen years. Then did tluit briglit star set, and never 
more to appear here among us ; then did our sun go down ; and now 
what dai'kness is come upon us ! I'ut away and pardon our iniipiities, 
O Lord ! wliich liave been th.e cause of thy sore displeasure, and 
return to us again in mercy, and provide yet again for this thy flock a 
pastor after thy own heart, as thou liath promised to thy people in thy 
word ; on which promise Ave have hope, for we are called by thy name ; 
and, oh, leave us not ! " 

i '^ 



s, tliat the 
)U!i organi- 
)st tension, 
11 crowded 
he I'evorish 
■lirious ex- 
ealtli in so 
; intervals, 
f strength, 
1 froin her 
r, altliough 
L)llities and 
' early ago, 
le opposite 
litest, — on 
'he conflict 
atter gave 
the study 
jath point 

he church, 
guage, of 

the garden 

It tlie age 

sador from 

and never 

; and now 


asuro, and 

tiiy Hock a 

oitlo in tliy 

tiiy name ; 

Tiie Rev. Peter Clark was ordained June 5, 1717. The ter- 
mination of tlui connection between the Salein A'illage church 
and tiie witchcraft delusion, and all similar kinds of absurdity and 
wickedness, is marked by the following record, whidi fully and for 
ever redeems its character. If Samuel Parris had l)een as wise 
and brave as Peter Clark, he would, in the same decisive manner, 
have nipped the thing in the bud. 

" Salem Village Church Records. 

"Sept. 5, 1740. — At a cliurcli meeting appointed on the lecture, 
tlie day before, on the occasion of several persons in tiiis parish being 
reported to liave resorted to a woman of a very ill reputation, pretend- 
ing to tlie art of divination and fortune-tclfing, &e., to make inquiry into 
that matter, and to take such resolutions as may be thouglit i)roper on 
the occasion, tlie bretliren of the church then present came into the 
following votes; viz., That for Christians, especially churcli-niembers, 
to seek to and consult reputeil witclies or fortune-tellers, tliis cliurch is 
clearly of opinion, and firmly Ijelieves on the testimony of tiie Word 
of God, is liighl}' impious and scandalous, being a viohition of the 
Ciiristian covenant sealed in baptism, rendering the persons guilty of 
it subject to tlie just censure of tiie cburcli. 

"No proof ajipearing against any of the members of tliis ciiurcli 
(some of wiiom had been strongly suspected of this crime), so as to 
convict them of their being guilty, it was furtiier voted, Tliat the 
pastor, in the name of tiie cliurcli, should publicly testify tlieir disap- 
probation and abliorrence of tliis infamous and ungodly practice of 
consulting witclies or fortune-tellers, or any that are rejiuted such ; 
exliortiug all under their watch, wlio may have been guilty of it, to 
an hearty repentance and returning to God, earnestly seeking forgive- 
ness in tlie blood of Christ, and warning ail against the like practice 
for the time to come. 

" Sept. 7. — This testimony, exhortation, and warning, voteil by the 
cliurcli, was piibliely given by the pastor, betbre the dismission of 
the congregation." 

The Salem Village Parish, when its present pastor, the Rev. 
Charles 11. Rice, was settled, .Sejit. 2, ISO."), had been in existence 
a liundred and ninety-one yi'ars. During its (Irst twenty-five 
years, it had four ministers, whose aggregate period of service 
was eighteen years. During the succeeding hundred and sixfy- 
si.\ years, it had four ministers, wliosc aggregate period of service 
VOL. II. 33 

: ';? 




* '■' 1 


'{ M 






was one liundrcd and fifl:y-oif:;ht years. They had all been well 
educated, several were men oCunconnnon endowments, and with- 
out exeeption they possessed qualities suitable lor success and 
usefulness in their calling. 

Tlu! iirst p(!riod was filled with an uninterrupted series of 
troubles, ((uarrels, and animosities, culminating in the nu)st terrific 
and horrilile disaster that ever fell upon a people. The second 
period was an uninterrupted reign of peace, harmony, and unity ; 
no religious society ever enjoying more comfort in its privileges, 
or exhibiting a better example of all that ought to characterize a 
Christian congregation. 

The contrast between the lives of its ministi'rs, in the two 
periods respectively, is as great as between their pastorates. 
Tlie lli'st four sulU'red from inadequate means of support, and, 
owing to the fends in the congregation, rates not being collected, 
were hardly supplied with the necessaries of life. There is no 
symptom in the records of the second period of there having ever 
been any dilliculty on this score. The prompt fulfdment of their 
contracts liy the people, and the favor of Providence, jjlaced the 
ministers above the reach or approach of inconvenience or annoy- 
ance from that (Quarter. 

The history of the New-England churches presents no epoch 
more melancholy, distressful, and stormy than the iirst, anil none 
more united, prosperous, or commendable than the second period 
in the annals of the Salem Village church. 

The contrast between the fortunes and fates of the ministers 
of these two periods is worthy of being stated in detail. 

Jauie^ IJayley began to preach at the Village at the formation 
of the society, when he was quite a young man, within three years 
from receiving his degree at Harvard College. After about seven 
years, during which he buried his wife and three children, and 
encountered a bitter and turbulent opposition, — so far as we can 
see, most causeless and unreasonal)le, — he relimpiished the minis- 
try altogether, and spent the I'esidue ol' his life in another profession 

The ministry of George Burroughs, at the Village, lasted about 
two years. The violence of both parties to the controversy by 
which the parish had been rent was concentrated upon his inno- 
cent and unsheltered head. He was, at a public assembly of his 



!on well 
nd witli- 
I'ss and 

erios of 
it terrific 
', isc'i'ond 
1 unity; 
uterize a 

the two 
st orates. 
)rt, and, 
re is no 
inji ever 
of their 
aeed the 
r annoy- 

lo epoch 
md none 
d period 


ree years 
)ut seven 
ren, and 
s we can 
he minis- 

ted about 
)versy by 
his inno- 
)lv of liis 

people, in his own meeting-house, arrested, and taken out in the 
custody of the marslial of the county, a prisoner for a debt in- 
curred to meet tlie expenses of his wile's recent funeral, of an 
amount less than the salary tiien due him, and wliich. in point of 
fact, he had paid at the time by an order upon the parish treasurer. 
From such outrageous ill-treatment, he escaped by resigning his 
ministry. He was followed to his retreat in a remote settlement, 
and while engaged there, a laborious, self-sacrificing, and devoted 
minister, Avas. by the n)alignity of his enemies at the Village, sud- 
denly seized, all imconscious of having wronged a human creature, 
snatched from the table where he was taking his frugal meal in 
his humble home, torn from his helj)less family, hurried up to the 
Village ; overwhelmed in a storm of falsehood, rage, and folly ; 
loaded with irons, inuntired in a dungeon, carried to the place of 
execution, consigned to the death of a felon ; and his uucofhned 
remains thrown among the clefts of the rocks of Witch Hill, and 
left but half buried, — for a crime of which he was as innocent as 
the unborn child. 

])eodat Lawson, a great scholar and great preacher, after a 
two years' trial, and having buried his wile and daughter at the 
Village, abandoned the attempt to cpiell the storm of j)assion there. 
He found another settlement on the other side of Massachusetts 
Bay, which he left without taking leave, and was never heard of 
more by his people. Eight years afterwards, he re-appeared in the 
rc] int, at London, of his famous Salem Village sermon, and then 
vanished for ever from sight. A cloud of impenetrable darkiu'ss 
envelopes his name at that point. Of his fate nothing is known, 
except that it was an " unhappy" one. 

Samuel Parris, after a ministry of seven years, crowded from 
the very beginning with contention and animosity, and closed in 
desolation, ruin, and woes unutterable, havoc scattered among his 
people and the whole country round, was driven from the [)arisli, 
the blood of the innocent charged upon his head, and, for the r(\'-t 
of his days, consigned to obscurity and jjcnury. The place of his 
abode has upon it no habitation or structure of man ; and the only 
vestiges left of him are his rcconls of the long (puirrel with his 
congregation, and his inscrij)tion on the headstone, erected by 
him, as he left the Village for ever, over the fresh grave of his 

I Im 


I I'. 







Surely, the annals of no church present a more dismal, shocking, 
or shamelul history than this. 

Joseph Green, on the 2(Jth of November, 1715, terminated 
with his life a ministry of eighteen years, as useful, beneficent, 
and honorable as it had l)een throughout harmonious and happy. 
Peter Clark died in ollice, June 10, 1708; after a service of 
filly-one years. lie was recognized throughout the ountry as an 
able minister and a learned divine. Peace and prosperity reigned, 
without a moment's intermission, among the people of his charge. 
•Benjamin Wadsworth, D.D., also died in office, Jan, 18, 182G, 
after a service of fifty-four years. Through life he was universally 
esteemed and loved in all the churches. Milton P. Braman, D.D., 
on the 1st of April, 18G1, terminated by resignation a ministry of 
thirty-fi»e years. lie always enjoyed universal respect and aifec- 
tion, and tiio j/arisli under his care, uninterrupted union and pros- 
perity. He did not leave his people, but remains among them, 
participating in the enjoyment of their privileges, and upholding 
the hands of his successor. His eminent talents are occasionally 
exercised in neigliboring pulpits, and iu other services of public 
usefulness. He lives in honored retirement on land originally 
belonging to Nathaniel Putnam, distant only a few rods, a little to 
the north of east, from the spot owned and occupied by his first 
predecessor, James Baylvy. 

It can be said with assurance, of this epoch in the history of 
the Salem Village church and society, that it can hardly be i)ar- 
alleled in all that indicates the Avell-being of man or the bless- 
ings of Heaven. No such contrast, as these two periods in the 
annals of this parish present, can elsewhere be found. 

Prosecutions for witchcraft continued in the older countries 
after they had been abandoned here ; although it soon began to 
be difficult, everywhere, to procure the conviction of a person 
accused of witchcraft. In 1716, a Mrs. Hicks and her daughter, 
the latter aged nine years, were hanged in Huntingdon, in Eng- 
land, for witchcraft. In the year 1720, an attempt, already 
alluded to, was made to renew the Salem excitement in Littleton, 
Mass., but it fiiiled: the people had learned wisdom at a price too 
dear to allow them so soon to forget it. In a letter to Cotton 
Iklather, written Feb. 19, 1720, the excellent Dr. Watts, after 
having expr jssed his doubts respecting the sufficiency of the spec- 



tral evidence for condemnation, says, in reference to the Salem 
witchcraft, " T am much persuaded that there was much imme- 
diate ajjjency of the Devil in these affairs, and perhaps there were 
some real witches too." Not far from this time, we find what was 
probably the opinion of the most liberal-minded and cultivated 
people in Enjjjland expressed in the following; lautiuage of Addi- 
son : "To speaiv my thoufrlits freely, T beli<'ve, in general, that 
there is and has been such a thing as witchcraft, but, at the same 
time, can give no credit to any particular instance of it." 

There was an execution for witchcraft in Scotland in 1722. As 
late as the middle of the last century, an annual discourse, com- 
memorative of executions that took place in Huntingdon during 
the reign of Queen f^lizabeth, continued to be delivered in that 
place. An act of a Presbyterian synod in Si'otland, published in 
1743, and reprinted at Glasgow in I'JKi, denounced as a national 
sin the repeal of the penal laws against witchcraft. 

Blackstone, the great oracle of British law, and who nourished 
in the latter half of the century, declared his belief in witi h- 
craft; in the following strong teri)\s : " To deny the possibility, 
nay, the actual existence, of witchcraft and sorcery, is at onee 
flatly to contradict the revealed Word of God, in various passages 
both of the Old and New Testament; and .he thing itself is a 
truth to which everv nation in the world hath in its turn ])orne 
testimony, cither by examples seemingly well attested, or by pro- 
hibitory laws, which at least suppose the possibility of conunerc<> 
with evil spirits." 

It is related, in White's "Natural History of Selborne," that, 
in the year 1751, the people of Tring, a market town of Hertford- 
shire, and scarcely more than thirty miles from London, "seized 
on two superannuated wretches, crazed with age and overwhelmed 
with infirmities, on a suspicion of witchcraft.'"' They were carried 
to the edge of a horse-pond, and there sultjected to the water 
ordeal. The trial resulted in the acipiittal of the prisoners ; but 
they were both drowned in the process. 

A systematic effort seems to have licen .nade during the eigh- 
teenth century to strengthen and renew the p.'iwer of supcrstifiou. 
Alarmed bv the nroirress of infidelitv, manv eminent and excellent 
men availed themselves of the facilities which their position at 
the head of the prevailing literature afforded them, to pusli the 




j ; 



faith of the people as far as possible towards the opposite extreme 
of eredulity. Jt was a most unwise, and, in its elfeets, de])lorablo 
policy. It was a betraval of the cause of true relijiiou. It was 
ail ackiiowled;,niK.'iit that it could not be vindicated before the 
tril)iinal of sisvere reason. Besides all the misery produced by 
lllliu<^ the inia{:fiuation with unreal objects of terror, the restoration 
to inllueiice, durinjr the last century, of the lables and delusions of 
an ignorant ai^a, has done incalculable injury, by preventing the 
progress of Clnistian truth and sound philosophy; thus promoting 
the cause of the very infidelity it was intended to check. The 
idea of putting down one error by setting up another (.:i<miot have 
suggested itself to any mind that had ever been led to appreciate 
the value or the Ibrce of truth. But this was the policy of Chris- 
tian writers from the time of Addison to that of Johnson. The 
latter expressly confesses, that it was necessary to maintain the 
credit of the belief of the existencie and agency of ghosts, and 
other supernatural beings, in order to help on the argument for a 
future state as Ibunded upon the Bible. 

Dr. llibbert, in his excellent book on the "Philosophy of 
Apparitions," illustrates some remarks similar to those just made, 
by the following (piotation from Mr. Wesley : — 

" It is true, that the English in general, and indeed mo it of the 
men in Europe, have given up all accounts of witches and apparitions 
as mere old wives' fables. I am sorry for it ; and I willingly take this 
opportunity of entering my solemn protest against this violent com- 
pliment, which so man}' tliat believe the Bible pay to those who do not 
believe it. I owe them no such service. I t.ake knowledge, these are 
at the bottom of the outcry which has been raised, and with such 
insolence spread throughout the nation, in direct opposition, not only 
to the Bible, but to tiie suffrage of tiie wisest and best men in all ages 
and nations. Tliey well know (wiiather Ciiristians know it or not), 
that tlie giving up witchcraft is, in effect, giving up the Bible. And 
they know, on the otl;er hand, tiiat, if but one account of the inter- 
course of men with separate spirits be admitted, their whole castle in 
the air (Deism, Atheism, Materialism) falls to the ground. I know no 
reason, tiierefore, why we should suffer even this weapon to be wrested 
out of our bauds. Indeed, there are numerous arguments besides, 
wliicli abundantly confute their vain imaginations. But we need not 
be hooted out of one : neither reason nor religion requires this." 



The belief in witdicrafl continued to hold a conspicuous place 
among popular superstitions during the whole of the last century. 
ISIany now living can reuicniber the time when it prevailed vi'ry 
generally. Each town or village had its peculiar (raditii)iiary 
tales, which were gravely related by the old, and deeply impressed 
upon the young. 

The legend of the "Screeching Woman" of Marljlehead is 
worthy of being generally known. The story runs thus : A i)irati- 
cal cruiser, having captured a Spanish vessel during the si-venteeuth 
centurv, brought her into ^Slarblehead harbor, which was then the 
site of a lew humble dwellings. The male inhabitants were all 
absent on their fishing voyages. The pirates brought their pris- 
oners ashore, carried them at the dead ol' the night into a retired 
glen, and there nmrdered them. Among the captives was an Eng- 
lish female passenger. The women who belonged to the place 
heard her dying outcries, as they rose through the midnight air, 
and niverbcrated far and wide along the silent shores. She was 
heard to exclaim, "O mercy, mercy ! Lord Jesus Christ, save nu; ! 
Lord Jesus Christ, save me !" Her body was buried by the pirates 
on the spot. The same piercing voice is believed to be heard at 
intervals, more or less often, almost every year, in the stillness of 
a calm starlight or clear moonlight night. There is something, it 
is said, so wild, mysterious, and evidently suj)erhuman in the 
sound, as to strike a chill of dread into the hearts of all who 
listen to it. The writer of an article on this subject, in the 
"Marblehead Register" of April 3, 1830, declares, that "there 
are not wanting, at the present day, persons of unimpeachable 
veracity and known respectability, who still continue fn-mly to 
believe the tradition, and to assert that they themselves have been 
auditors of the sounds describe<l, which they declare were of such 
an un(!arthly nature as to preclude the idea of imposition or 

When " the silver moon unclouded holds her way," or when 
the stars are glistening in the clear, cold sky, and the dark lorms 
of the moored vessels are at rest upon the slei'jiing bosom of the 
harbor ; when no natural sound comes forth from the animate or 
inanimate creation but the dull and melancholy rote of the sea 
along the rocky and winding coast, — how often is the watcher 
startled from the reveries of an excited imagination liy the pite- 

' ' I 




I if 

i : 

oiis, dismal, and terrific screauis of the unlaid ghost of the mur- 
dered lady ! 

A ne<^ro died, fifty years ago, in that part of Danver-s called 
originally Salem Village, at a very advaiieed age. He Avas sup- 
posed to have reached his hundredth year. lie never could be 
prevailed upon to admit that there was any delusion or mistake in 
the {)roceedings of 101)2, To him, the whole all'air was easy of 
explanation. He believed that the witchcraft was occasioned by 
the circumstance of the Devil's having purloined the church-hook, 
and that it subsided so soon as the book was recovered Irom his 
grasp. Perhaps the [)articular hypothesis of the venerable African 
was peculiar to himself; but those persons must have a slight 
acipiaintance with the history of oi)inions in this and every other 
country, w'.io are not aware that the superstition on which it was 
founded has been extensively entertained by men of every color, 
almost if not quite, up to the present day. If the doctrines of 
denionology have been completely overthrown and exterminated 
in our villages and cities, it is a very recent achic"\ oment ; nay, I 
fear that In many places the aus])icious event remains to take 

In the year 1808, the inhabitants of Great Paxton, a village of 
Huntingdonshire, in England, Avithin sixty miles of London, rose 
in a body, attacked the house of an humble, and, so far as ai)pears, 
inolfensive and estimable woman, named Ann Izard, sui/pected of 
bewitching three young females, — Alice Brown, Fanny Amey, 
and Mary Fox, — dragged her out of her bed into the fields, 
pierced her arms and body with ])ins, and tore her flesh with their 
nails, until she was covered with blood. They connnitted the 
same barbarous outrage upon her again, a short time afterwards ; 
and would h^ve subjected her to the water ordeal, had she not 
found means to fly from that part of the country. 

The writer of the article "Witchcraft," in Rees's " Cyclo- 
pajdia," gravely maintains the doctrine of " ocular fivscination." 

Prosecutions for ■witchcraft are stated to have occurred, in the 
first half of the ])resent century, in some of the interior districts of 
our Southern States. The civilized world is even yet full of nec- 
romancers and thaumaturgists of every kind. The science of 
"palmistry" is .still practised by many a muttering vagrant ; and 
perhaps some in this neighborhood remember when, in the days 




of their yoiitlifiil fanry, tliey held out their hands, that their future 
fortunes nii;i;jl>t be read in tlio lines of their palms, and their wild 
and "iddv euriositv and anxious aireetions he <jratiiied bv inforuia- 
tion respecting wedding-day or alisout lover. 

The most celebrated fortune-teller, perhaps, that ever lived, 
resided in an adjoining town. The character of '* Moll Pitcher"' 
is familiarly known in all parts of the commercial world. She died 
in 18l;5, Her pla<'<! of abode was beneath the projecting and 
eh'vated suinniit of High Rock, in I^ynn, and conunanded a view 
of the wild ami indented coast of Marl)lehead, of the extended 
and resounding lieaches of Lynn and Chelsea, of Nahant Rocks, 
of the vessels and islands of Boston's beautiful bay, and of its 
remote southi-ru shore. She derived her myst<'rious gifts by 
inheritance, her grandliither having practised them l)ef()re in iVIar- 
blehead. Sailors, merchant'', and adventurers of every kiiul, 
visited her residence, and placed eonfidenco in her predictions. 
People came from great distances to learn the fate of missing 
friends, or recover the possession of lost goods ; while the young 
of both sexes, impatient of the tardy pace of time, and burning 
with curiosity to discern the^secret.i of futurity, availi'd themselves 
of every opportiuilty to visit her lowly dwelling, and hear from 
her prophetic lips the revelation o!' the most tender incidents and 
important events of their coming lives. She read the future, and 
traced what to mere mortal eyes were the mysteries of the present 
or the past, in the arrangement aiul aspect of the grounds or 
settlings of a cup of tea or codec. Iler name has everywhere 
become the generic title of fortune-tellers, and occupies a con- 
spicuous place in the legends and ballads of popular superstition. 
Her renown has gone abroad to the farthest regions, and her 
memory will be perpetuated in the amials of credulity and impos- 
ture. An air of romance is breathed around the scenes where she 
practised her mystic art, the interest and charm of which will 
increase as the lapse of time removes her history back towards 
the dimness of the distant past. 

The elements of the witchcraft delusion of 1G92 arc slumbering 
still in the bosom of society. We hear occasionally of haunted 
houses, cases of second-sight, and communications from the spir- 
itual world. It always will be so. The human mind feels instinc- 
tively its connection with a higher sphere. Some will ever be 




inipatii'nt of the restraints of our present mode of bein;^, and 
prone to break away from them ; eager to pry into the secrets of 
tlu! invisil)hi world, willinjj; to venture beyond the hounds of ascer- 
tainable knowledjfc, and, in the pursuit of truth, to aspire where 
the laws of evidence cannot follow them. A love of the marvellous 
is inherent to the sense of limitation while in these terrestrial 
liodies ; and many will always be foinid not content to wait until 
this tabernacle is dissolved and we shall Ije clothed upon with a 
body which is from Heaven. 

t'iiig, and 
secrets of 
s of asecr- 
)ire where 
wait until 
)un with a 


A P V E N D 1 X. 

I. Lawson'8 Puki-atouy Addhkss. 

TI. Law.sox's Biukk Account. 

III. Lkttkr to Jonathan Couwin. 

IV. l':XTI!ACTS rilOM :Mk. PaIUUs's Cm-IU II RlCCOltDS. 

















A r V E N 1 X. 



[Prom the pditlon of Deoiliit LawHon's Sermon printed In London. 1704.] 

To all my Christian Frienth ntui Acquaintance, the Inhabitants <y" tialvn Village. 

(yiiHisTi.VN KitiKNDs, — The sennou licre presented unto you war, de- 
livered in vour audience bv tliat unwortliy instrument who did fornierlv 
.spend some years anionj; you in the work of tiie ministry, thouf^h attended 
witii manifold sinful faiiinj^s and infirmities, for whieh I ilo implore the |>ar- 
douing merey of (Jod in .Jesus (Jlirist, and entreat from you the eovering of 
love. As this was prepared for that partieular occasion when it was delivered 
amongst you, so the publication ui it is to be particularly recommended to 
your service. 

My heart's desire and continual prayer to (lod for you all is, that you 
may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ; and, accordingly, that all 
means he is using with you, by mercies and aHlietions, ordinances and provi- 
dences, may be sanctified to the building you up in grace and holiness, and 
preparing you for the kingdom of glory. We are told by the a|)ostle (Acts 
xiv. 22), that through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of 
God. Now, since (besides your share in the common calamities, under the 
burden whereof this poor people are groaning at this time) the righteous and 
holy God hath been pleased to permit a sore ;md grievous allliet'.m to befall 
you, such as can hardly be said to be common to men ; viz., I)y giving liberty 
to Satan to range and rage amongst you, to the torturing the bodies and 
distracting the minds of some of the visible sheep and lambs of the Lord 
Jesus Christ. And (which is yet more astonishing) he v.ho is the accuser 
of the brethren endeavors to introduce as criminal some of the visible sub- 
jects of Christ's kingdom, by whose sober and godly conversation in limes 





past we could draw no other conclusions than that they were real members 
of his mystical body, representing them as the instruments of his malice 
against tlieir friends and neighbors. 

I tliought meet thus to give you the best assistance I could, to help you 
out of your distresses. And since the ways of the Lord, in his permissive as 
well as eftVetive providence, are unsearchable, and his doings past finding 
out, and pious souls are at a loss what will be the issue of these things, I 
therefore bow my knees unto the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
that he would cause all grace to abound to you and in you, that your poor 
place may bo delivered from those breaking and ruining calamities which are 
thrciitencd as the pernicious consequences of Satan's malicious operations; 
and that 3'ou may not be left to bite and devour one another in your sacred 
or civil society, in your relations or families, to the destroying much good and 
promoting much evil among you, so as in any kind to weaken the hands or 
discourage the heart of your reverend and pious pastor, whose family also 
being so much under the influence of these troubles, spiritual symp.ath}' can- 
not i)ut stir you up to assist him as at all times, so especially at such a time as 
this; he, as well as his neighbors, being under such awful circumstances. As 
to this discourse, my humble desire and endeavor is, that it may appear to be 
according to the form of sound words, and in expressions every way intelli- 
gible to the meanest capacities. It pleased God, of his free grace, to give it 
some aeceptaiiou with those that beard it, and some that heard of it desired 
nie to ti iuscrii)e it, and afterwards to give way to the printing of it. I pre- 
sent it tiierefore to your acceptance, and commend it to the divine benedic- 
tion; and that it may please the Almighty God to manifest his power in 
putting an end to your sorrows of this nature, by bruising Satan under your 
feet shortly, causing these and all other your and our troubles to work 
together for our good now, and salvation in the day of the Lord, is the 
unfeigned desire, and shall be .the uncessant praj'cr, of — 

Less than the least, of all those that serve. 

In the Gospel of our Lord Jesus, 


i I 

al members 
his malice 

to help you 
:'rmissive as 
last finding 
?se tilings, I 
esus Christ, 
it 3'our poor 
's which are 
your sacred 
•li good and 
he hands or 
family also 
npathy can- 
ich a time as 
5tancei3. As 
ippear to be 
way intelli- 
:e, to give it 
)f it desired 
if it. I pre- 
[ne benedic- 
s power in 
under your 
es to work 
^ord, is the 






[Appended to his Sermon, London edition, 1704.] 

At the request of several worthy ministers and Christian friends, I do here 
annex, by way of appendix to tlie preceding sermon, sf)ine l)rief account of 
tiiose amazing things wiiich occasioned tliat discourse to lie delivered. 
the reader please tliercfore to take it in tlio brief remarks following, and judge 
as God shall incline iiim. 

It pleased Cod, in tlie year of our Lord 1002, to visit the people at a ])1acc 
called Sah'in Village, in Now England, with a ver\- sore and grievous atilic- 
tion, in wliicli they liad reason to believe that the sovereign and holy Cod 
was pleased to permit Satan and his instruments to affriglit and alllict those 
poor mortals in such an astonishing and unusual manner. 

Now, I having for some time before attended the worlv of tlie ministry in 
that village, tlu^ report of tliose great afflictions came quickly to my notice, 
and the more readiU' because the first person afflicted was in the minister's 
family who succeeded me after I was removed from them. In pity, therefore, 
to my Cliristian friends and former acquaintance there, I was nnicli con- 
cerned about them, frequently consulted with them, and fervently, l)v divine 
assistance, prayed for them; but especially my concern was augmenled when 
it was reported, at an examination of a person suspected for witchcraft, that 
my Avife and daiigliter, who (I'mI tl>ree j-ears before, were sent out of the 
world under the malicious operations of the infernal powers, as is more fully 
represented in the following remarks. I did then desire, and was also de- 
sired b}' some concerned in the Court, to be there present, that I might iiear 
what was alleged in that respect; observing, therefore, when I was amongst 
them, that tlie case of the afHicted was very amazing and deplorable, and the 
charges brought against the accused such as were ground of suspicions, yet 
very intricate, and difhcult to draw up right conclusions aliout them; I 
thought good, for the satisfaction ot' myself and such of my triends as might 
be curious to iiujuire into those mysteries of (iod's pDvidcnce and Satan's 
malice, to draw up and keep by me a brief account of tiie most remarkable 
things that came to my knowledge in those afl'airs, which remarks were after- 
wards (at my request) revised and corrected iiy some who sat judges on the 
bench in those matters, and were now transcribed from the same paper on 
which they were then written. After this, I being by the providence of God 


1 1 ll,l 
' ' ' 11' 



■ i»/f-!rji*:*«fc: 



called over into England in the year 1696, I then brought that paper of re- 
marks on llie witelicnitTt with me ; upon the sight thereof .some worthy min. -tcrs 
and Christian friends here desired me to reprint the sermon, and subjoin the 
remarks thereunto in way of appendix; but for some partieular reasons I did 
then decline it. JJut now, forasnmeh as I myself had been an eye and ear wit- 
ness of most of those amazing things, so far as they came within the notice 
of human senses, and the requests of my friends were renewed since I came 
to dwell in London, I have given way to the publishing of them, that I may 
satisfy such as are not resolved to the contrary, that there may be (and are) 
such operations of the powers of darkness on the bodies and minds of man- 
kind by divine i)ermission, and that those who sat judges on those cases may, 
by the serious consideration of the formidable aspect and perplexed circum- 
stances of that afflictive providence, be in some measure excused, or at least 
be less censured, for i)assing sentence on several persons as being the instru- 
ments of Satan in those diabolical operations, when they wore involved in 
such a dark and dismal scene of providence, in which Satan did seem to spin 
a liner thread of spiritual wickedness than in the ordinary methods of witch- 
craft: hence the judges, desiring to bear due testimony against such diabolical 
practices, were inclined to admit the validity of such a sort of evidence as was 
not so clearly and directly demonstrable to human senses as in other cases is 
required, or else they could not discover the mysteries of witchcraft. I pre- 
sume not to impose upon my Christian or learned reader any opinion of 
mine how far .Satan Avas an instrument in God's hand in tiiese amazing 
afflictions which were on man}' persons there about that time; but I am 
certainly convinced, thai the great Cod was ])lcased to lengthen his chain to 
a very great degree for the hurting of some and reproaching of others, as far 
as he was permitted so to d(j. Now, that I may not grieve any whose rela- 
tions were either accused or afflicted in those times of trouble and distress, 
I choose to lay down every particular at large, withoui mentioning any 
names or persons concerned (they being wholly unknown here); resolving to 
confine myself to such a proportion of paper as is assigned to these remarks 
in this inq)ression of the book, yet, that I may be distinct, shall speak briefly 
to the matter under three heads; viz. : — 

1. Relating to the afllicted. 

2. Kelating to tlie accused. And, 

3. Kelating to the confessing witches. 
To begin with the afflicted, — 

1. One or two of the lirst that were afflicted complaining of unusual ill- 
ness, their relations used physic for their cure; but it was altogether in 

2. They wore oftentimes very stupid in their fits, and could neither hoar 
nor under.-tand, in the apprehension of the standers-by; so that, when prayer 
hath been made with some of them in such a manner as might be audible in 
a great eongrogaticn, yet, when their fit was off, they declared they did not 
hear so much as one word thereof. 

aper of re- 
y mill, iters 
subjoin the 
u^ous I did 
ind ear wit- 
tliu notice 
ice I came 
;hat I may 
(and are) 
Is of man- 
cases may, 
cd circuni- 
or at least 
the instru- 
nvolved in 
■em to spin 
Is of witch- 
li diabolical 
L'nce as was 
ler cases is 
ift. I pre- 
opinion of 
;e amazing 
; but I am 
is chain to 
irs, as far 
hose rela- 
d distress, 
ining any 
isolving to 
ie remarks 
!ak brieflv 

nusual ill- 
jgcther in 

tlicr hear 
ion prayer 
audible in 
cy did not 



3. It was several times observed, that, wlicn they were discoursed with 
aliout (lod or Ciirist, or the things of salvatinu, tliey were presently alllicted 
at a ilreadt'ul rate; and lieiicc were oftentimes outrageous, if tiiey were per- 
mitted to lie in tiie congregation in tiie time of the [lublie worship. 

4. Tliey sometimes told at a eonsidiM'aiile distance, yea, several miles oft", 
that such and such persons were alllicted, which hath been found to lie done 
according to the time and manner tliey related it; and they said the sjiectres 
of the suspected persons told them of it. 

5. They allirmed that they saw tiie ghosts of several departed persons, 
who. at their appearing, did instigate tiiem to diseover such as (they said) 
were instruments to hasten their deaths, threatening sorely to afllict them if 
they did not make it known to the magistrates. They did aliirin at the 
examination, and again at the trial of an accused person, that tliey saw the 
ghosts of bis two wives (to whom he had carried very ill in their lives, as was 
proved by several testimonies), and also that they saw the ghosts of my wife 
and daughter (who died above three years before); and they did allirm, that, 
when the very ghosts looked on the prisoner at the bar, tiiey looked red, as 
if the lilood would Hy out of their faces with indignation at him. The man- 
ner of it was thus: several afflicted being before tlie prisoner at the bar, on a 
sudden tliey iixed all their ey(!s together on a certain place of the tloor lui'ore 
the prisoner, neither moving their eyes nor bodies for some few minutes, nor 
answering to any (picstion which was asked them: so soon as that trance 
was over, some being removed out of sight and hearing, they were all, one 
after another, asked what they saw; and they di I all agree that they saw 
those ghosts above mentioned. I was ])resent, and heard and saw tlie whole 
of what passed upon that account, during the trial of that person who was 
accused to be the instrument of Satan's ir.alice therein. 

6. In this (worse than (Jallick) persecution hy the dragoons of hell, the 
persons atllicted were harassed at such a dreadful rate to write their names 
in a Devil-book presented by a spectre unto them: and one, in my hearing, 
said, " I will not, I will not write! It is none of God's book, it is none of 
God's book: it is the Devil's book, for aught I know;" and, when they 
steadfastly refused to sign, they were told, if they would but touch, or take 
hold of, the book, it should do; and, lastly, the diabolical propositions were 
so low and easy, that, if they Avould but let their clothes, or anything about 
them, touch the book, they should be at ease from their torments, it being 
their consent that is aimed at by the Devil in those reiiresentations and 

7. One who had been long atllicted at a stupendous rate by two or three 
spectres, when they were (to speak after the manner of men) tired out with 
tormenting of her to force or fright her to sign a covenant with the Prince of 
Darkness, they said to her, as in a diabolical and accursed passion, "(io 
your ways, and the Devil go with you: for we will be no mon^ ]iestered and 
plagued about you." And, ever after that, she was well, and no more af- 
flicteil, tiiat ever I heard of. 

VOL. II. 84 




8. Sundry pins have Itcen tak'.'ii out of the wrists and arms of the 
afllictt'd; and one, in time ot' exainiuation of a suspected person, had a pin 
run throuf^h botii iier upper and her lower lip wiien slie was called to speak, 
yet no apparent festering followed tiiereupon, after it was taken out. 

•J. Some of the atliicted, as they were strivinj^ in their fits in ojien court, 
have (I)y invisible means) had their wrists hound fast together with a real 
cord, so as it could hardly he taken off without cutting. Some afHicted have 
been found with their arms tied, and hanged upon an hook, from whence 
others have Ijeen forced to take them down, that they might not expire in 
that posture. 

10. Some afflicted iiave been drawn under tables and beds by undi.s- 
ccrncd force so as they could hardly be pulled out; and one was drawn 
hiill'-way over the side of a well, and was, with much ditJiculty, recovered 
back airain. 

11. When they were most grievously afflicted, if they wore brought to 
the accused, and the suspected ])ersoirs liand but laid upoti them, they were 
imnu'diately relieved out of their lortures; but, if the accused did but look 
on them, they were instantly struck down again. Wherefore they used to 
cover the face of the accused, while they laid their hands on rhe afflicted, 
and then it obtained the desired issue: for it hath been experienced (both in 
e^^amimitions and trials), that, so soon as the afflicted came in sigiit of the 
accused, they were immediately cast into their fii; ; yea, th; ugh the accused 
were among the crowd of i)e(i|ile unknown to the sufferers, yet, on the first 
view, were they struck down, which was observed in a child oi (bur or five 
years of age, when it was apprehended, that so many as she i >uld It ok 
upon, either directly or by turning her head, were immediately struck int;) 
their fits. 

12. An iron spindle of a woollen wheel, being taken very strangely out 
of an house at Salem Village, was used by a spectre as an instrument of 
torture to a sufferer, not being discernible to the standers-by, until it \\ as, bj' 
the said sufferer, snatched out of the spectre's hand, and then it did immedi- 
ately appear to the per ons present to be really the same iron spindle. 

1.3. Sometimes, in their fits, they have had their tt)ngues drawn ovl of 
their nio'ths to a fearful length, their heads turned veiy much over tlieir 
shoulders; and while they have been so strained in their tits, and had their 
arms and legs, &c., wrested as if they were (jiite ilislocated, the blood hath 
gushed plentifully out of their mouths for a considerable time together, 
which some, that they might be satislied that it was real blood, took upon 
their finger, and rubbed on their other hand. I saw several together thus 
violently strained and bleeding in their fits, to my very great astonishment 
that my fellow-mortals should be so grievously distressed by the invisible 
powers of darkness. I'or certainly all considerate persons who beheld these 
things must needs be convinced, that tli.'ir motions in their fits were preter- 
natural and involuntary, both as to the manner, which was so strange as a 
■well person could not (at least without great pain) screw their bodies into, 



irnis of the 
1, had a pin 
u(l to speak, 

1 ojifu court, 
witli a real 
ithicted have 
Tom whonce 
ot expire in 

s by undis- 
! was drawn 
:y, recovered 

c brought to 
m, they were 
did but look 
they used to 
the aHlicted, 
leed (both in 
I sight of the 
I the aceuscd 
, on the tirst 
i four or five 
i; ould look 
' struck iutJ 

trangely out 
iistrunieut of 
til It ^^as, by 
did inunedi- 

Irawn ovi of 
h over tueir 
lid had tiieir 

blood hath 
nie together, 

, took upon 
ogetlier thus 
the invisible 
beheld these 
were preter- 

strange as a 

bodies into, 

and as to the violence also, they were preternatural motions, being much 
beyond the ordinary force of the same jiersons when tiiey were in tiuir right 
minds; so that, being sucii grievous sull'erers, it woidd seem very liard and 
unjust to censure tiieni of consenting to, or holding any vt)luntary converse 
or familiarity witii, tiie Devil. 

14. Their eyes wen', tiir the most part, fast closed in tlieir trance-fits, and 
when they were asked a ([uestion they could give no answer; and I do 
verily believe, they did not Iw.iiv at tiiat time; yet did they discourse with 
the spectres as with real jiersoiis, asserting things and receiving answers 
alhrmative or negative, as the matter was. For instance, one. i^i my hearing, 
thus argued irif /i, ai\d railed (11,0. spectre: "(jnodw — , begone, begone, be- 
gone ! Are you not ashamed, a woman of your profession, to alllict a poor 
creature so V What hurt did I ever do y.... in my life V You have but two 
years to live, and then the Devil will torment yniir soul for this. Y(nir name 
is blotted out of God's book, and it shall never be put into (iod's book 
again. ])eg(jiiel For shame! Are you not afraid of what is coming upon 
yon? I know, I know what will make you afraid, — the wrath of an angry 
God: I am sure that will make you afraid. IJegonel Do not torment me. 
I know what j'ou would have " (we Judged she meant her soul): " but it is 
out of your reach; it is clothed with tlie white robes of (,'hri~t's righteous- 
ness." This sufferer I was well acquainted with, and knew her to be a very 
sobtT and pious woman, so far as I could judge; and it ap|)ears that she had 
not, in that lit, voluntary converse with tiie Devil, for then she might have 
been helped to a better guess about that woman r.bovesaid, as to her living 
but two year*, for she lived not many months after tiiat time. Further, this 
woman, in the same fit, seemed t(j dispute with a spectre about a text of 
Scrii)ture: the ajiparition seemed to deny it; she said she was sure there was 
such a text, and she would tell it; and then said she to the apparition, "I am 
sure j'ou will be gone, for you cannot stand before that text." Then was she 
sorely atllicted, — her mouth drawn on one side, and her body strained 
violently for about a minute; and then said, " It is, it is, it is," three or four 
times, and then was afHicted to hinder her from telling; at last, she broke 
forth, and said, " It is tiie third chapter of the iIe\elations." I did manifest 
some scruple about reading it, lest .Satan should draw any thereby supersti- 
tiously to improve the Wdi'd of the eternal God; yet Judging I might do it 
once, for an experiment, I began to read; and, before I bad read through the 
first verse, she opened her eyes, and wa.s well. Her husband and the specta- 
tors told nie she had often been relieved by reading texts pertinent to her 
case, — as Isa. 40, 1, cli. 49, 1, ch. 50, 1, and several others. Tliese things I 
saw and heard from her. 

15. They were vehemently allHcted, to hinder any persons praying with 
them, or holding them in any religious discourse. The woman mentioned in 
the former section was told by the spectre I should not go tn prayer; but she 
said I should, and, after I had done, reasoned with the apparition, " Did not 
I say he should yo to prayer '" 1 went also to vis> a person atllicted in 



Boston; and, after I was (jjoiie into the lionse to which she bohinf;ed, she 
heini; ahniad, aii'l i)rclty well, when she was told I was there, she said, "I 
an\ hiath to ff> in; Cor I iinow he will tall into some good discourse, and then 
I nni sure I shall go into a (it." Accordingly, when she came in, I advised 
lier to improve all the resjiitc she had to make her ytcace with (lod, and sue 
out her jiardiiU througii Jesus Christ, anil beg supplies of faith and every 
grace to deliver her from the j)owers of darkness; and, before I had uttered 
all this, she fell into a ft^arful fit of diabolical torture. 

10. Some of them were asked how it came to pass that the\' were not 
afTriglited when they saw the black-man : they said they were at first, but not 
so much afterwards. 

17. Some of them alTirmed they saw the hlach-mmi sit on the gallows, and 
that he whispered in the ears of some of the condemned persons when they 
were just ready to be turned off, even while they were making their last 

18. They declared several things to be done by witchcraft, which hap- 
pened before some of them were born, — as strange deaths of persons, casting 
away of ships, &c.; and they said the spectres told tlieni of it. 

19. Some of them have sundry times seen a irliltc-man ai)poaring amongst 
the spectres, and, as soon as he appeared, the black-witcltts vanished : they said 
this white-man had often foretold them what resj)ite they should liave from 
their tits, as sometimes a day or two or more, wliich fell out accordingly. 
One of the afHicted said she saw him, in her fit, and was with him in a glo- 
rious jjlace which had no candle nor sun, j'ct was full of light and brightness, 
where there was a multitude in white, glittering robes, and they sang the 
song in liev. 5, 9; I'sal. 110, 149. She was loath to leave that place, and 
said, " //o(0 loiifj shall 1 stay Iwref Let me be alonr/ vith yoji.^' She was 
grieved she could stay no longer in that place and company. 

20. A young wonuin that was afHicted at a fearftd rate had a spectre 
appeared to her with a white sheet wrapped about it, not visible to the stand- 
ers-by mitil this sufferer (violently striving in her fit) snatched at, took hold, 
and tore off a corner of that sheet. Her father, being by her, endeavored to 
lay hold upon it with her, that she might retain what she had gotten ; but, at 
the passing-away of the spectre, he had such a violent twitch of his hand as 
if it would have been torn off: immediately thereuiion a])peared in the suffer- 
er's hand the corner of a sheet, — a real cloth, visible to the spectators, which 
(as it is said) remains still to be seen. 


1. A woman, being brought upon public examination, desired to go to 
praver. The nuigistratcs told lur they came not there to hear lur pray, but 
to examine her in what was alleged against her relating to suspicions of 

2. It was observed, both in times of examination and trial, that the 



lonftcd, she 
lie said. "I 
f, and then 
, I advised 
)d, and sue 
and every 
lad uttered 

y were not 
rst, but not 

allows, and 
when they 
r their last 

ivhich hap- 
)ns, casthig 

ig amongst 
I: they said 

have from 
im in a glo- 
v sang the 

place, and 
She was 

d a spectre 
) the stand- 
, took hold, 
leavored to 
ten ; but, at 
his hand as 
tlie suffer- 
itors, which 

cd to go to 
tr pray, but 
ispicions of 

al, that the 

accused seemed little affected with wliat the sufferers underwent, or wliat was 
charged against tiuMU as being the instruments of Satan therein, so that the 
spectators were grii'ved at tiieir ur.concernedness. 

3. Tiiey were snmetimes tiieir (ncii limu/i', and not always (iractising upon 
popjiets made of clouts, wax, or otiier materials, (according to tJic old meth- 
ods of wltciicraft); for «'//»/■«/ actions in them seemed to ]iroduce preternatu- 
ral inij.ressionH on the alHicted, as biting tlu'ir li]is in time of examination 
and trial ('aiised the sull'erers to lie bitten so as tiiey produced the marks 
before the magistrates and sjiectators: tlie accused, piiiciiiiig tiieir liands 
togetiier seemed to cause the suH'erers to be pinchtd; tiiose again stmiijiing 
witli their feet, (luse were tormented in their legs and fe«t, so as tiiey st'imjied 
fmrftdlij. After aii this, if the accused did but lean against the bar at 

which they stood, some very sober women of tlie alllicfed complained of their 
breasts, as if their bov.els were torn out; thus, some have since confessed, 
they were wont to atllict such as were the objects of their malice. 

4. Several were accused of having familiarity with the hlack-mnn in time 
of examination and trial; and that he whispered in their ears, and therefore 
they could not hear the magistrates; and that one woman accused riil (in 
her shape and spectre) by the place of judicature, behind the black man, in 
the very time when she was upon examination. 

.1. When the suspected were standing at the bar, the afllicted have affirmed 
that they saw their shapes in other places suckling a yellow bird; some- 
times in one place and posture, and sometimes in anotlit;r. They also fore- 
told that the spectre of the prisoner was going to alHict such or such a sutlerer 
which presently fell out accordingly. 

6. They were accused by the sufferers to keep days of hellish fasts and 
thanksgivings; and, upon one of their fast-days, they told a sufferer she must 
not eat, it was fast-day. She said she would: they told her they would 
choke her then, which, when she did eat, was (mdeavored. 

7. They were also accused to hold and administer diabolical sacraments; 
viz., a mock-baptism and a Devil-supper, at which cursed imitations of the 
sacred institutii ns of our blessed Lord they used forms of words to be trem- 
bled at in the very rehearsing: concerning baptism I shall speak elsewhere. 
At their cursed supper, they were said to have red bread and red drink; and, 
when they pressed an atHicted person to eat and drink thereof, she turned 
away her head, and spit at it, and said, " I will not eat, I will not drink: it 
is blood. That is not the bread of life, that is not the water of life; and I will 
have none of yours." Thus horribly doth Satan endeavor to have his king- 
dom and administrations to resemble those of our Lord Jesus (.'lirist. 

8. Some of the most fuber atllicted jiersons, when they were well, did 
affirm the spectres of such and such as they diil complain of in tiu'ir tits did 
appear to them, and could relate what pa>sed betwixt tluiii and the a|ipa- 
ritions, after their lits were over, and give account after what manner they 
were hurt by them. 

9. Several of the accused would neither in time of examination nor trial 

I Iff 



confoss any thing of what was laid to their chnrgo: Fomc! would not admit of 
any minister to ]iray with tiicni, others refused to pray for themselves. It 
was said hy sonu' of the coiifessiug witchep, that such as iuive received the 
hevil-saerameiit ean never confe>s: only one wonuin eondennu'd, after 
the death-warrant was ;<igned, freely confessed, Avhich occasioned her re- 
prieval for sonu' vinie; and it was ohcervaMe this woman had one lock of 
liair of a v< ry h ngth viz., four foot and seven inches long l)y measure. 
This lock . c' a ( iti'ereut color from all the rest, which was short and 
gray. It ^ n Ilf hinder jiart of her head, and was nuUtcd together like 

an elf-lock. ■ '■ Co 1 ordered it to he cut off, to which she was very un- 
willing, and .-. .' she .•■' told if it were cut off she should die or be sick; 
yet the Court ordered it s<' l,i he. 

10. A person who had been freriuently transported to and fro by the devils 
for the space of near two j-ears, was struck dumb for about nine mouths of 
that time; yet he, after that, had his speech restored to him, and did de- 
pose upon oath, that, in the time while he was dumb, he was many times 
bodily transported to places where the witches were gathered togethei, and 
that he tliere saw feasting antl dancing; and, being struck on the back or 
.shoulder, was therebj- niaile fast to the place, and could only see and hear at 
a distance. He did take his oath that he did, with his bodily eyes, see some 
of the accused at those witch-meetings several tinu'S. I was present in court 
when he gave his testimony. He also proved by sundry persons, that, at tln)se 
times of transport, he was iKidily absent from his abode, and could nowhere 
be found, but being met with by some on the road, at a distance from his 
home, was suddenly conveyed away from them. 

11. The at^licted jiersons related that the spectres of several eminent per- 
sons had been brought in amongst the rest; but, as the sufferers said the 
Devil could not hurt them in their shapes, but two witches seemed to take 
them by each hand, and lead them or force them to come in. 

12. Whiles a godly man was at prayer with a woman afllicted, the 
daughter of that woman (being a sutierer in the like kind) afiirmed that she 
saw two of the persons accused at prayer tn the Devil. 

13. It was jyroved by substantial evidences against one person accused, 
that he had such an unusual strength (though a very little man), that he 
could hold out a gun with one hand behind the lock, which was near seven 
foot in the barrel, being as mu(;h as a lusty man could command with both 
hands at'ter the usual nmuner of shooting. It was also proved, that he lifted 
barrels of meat and barrels of molasses out of a canoe alone, and that putting 
his fingers into a barrel of molasses (full within a liuger's length according to 
custom) he carried it several paces; and that he put his linger into the 
muzzle of a gun which was more than tive foot in the barrel, and lifted up 
the butt-end thereof, lock, stock, and all, without any visible help to raise it. 
It was also testided, that, being abroad with his wife and his wife's brother, 
he occasionally staid behind, letting his wife and her brother walk forward; 
but, suddenly coming up with them, he was angry with his wife for what 



lot ndinit of 

llSt'Ivt'S. It 

I'ccivcd tlie 
iiim-d, after 
K'd her rc- 
nnc lock of 
ly iiK'usiire. 
,s short and 
)gether like 
as very un- 
! or be sick ; 

ty tlie devils 
e ui(iiitlif> of 
ind did de- 
niaiiy times 
igetheK and 
the hack or 
and hear at 
es, see some 
ent in court 
hat, at those 
lid nowhere 
lice from his 

minent per- 
;rs said the 
ued to take 

fflicted, the 
ed that slie 

on accused, 
Hi), that he 
near seven 
d with both 
lat he lifted 
that putting 
ficcording to 
^er into the 
lid lifted up 
) to raise it. 
fe's brother, 
ilk forward; 
ife for what 

discourse had passed betwixt her and lur brother: thi'v wondering how he 
should know it, he said, " I know your thoughts; " at which exjires.sion. they, 
being ainazed, asked him how he could do that; he said, "My <iod, whom I 
serve, makes known your thoughts t(t lue." 

I wa« i)rescnt when these things were testified against him, and observed 
that he could not make any jilea for himself (in these things) tliat had any 
weight: he had the lil)erty of challeiigiiig his jurors before emiianelling. ac- 
cording to the statute in that case, and used his liberty in challenging many; 
yet the jury that were sworn brought him in guilty. 

14. The magistrates jirivately examined a ciiild of four or five years of 
age, mentioned in the remarks of the alllicted, sect. 11: [p. .I^n] and the 
child told them it bad a littl(! snake which used to suck on the low»'>t joint 
of its forefinger; and, when they (iniiuiriiig where) pointed to > cr places, 
it told them not there but here, pointing on the lowest joint of tl. for. iger, 
where they observed a deep red spot about the bigness of a lb '-lilte. "hey 
asked it who gave it that snake, whether the black man gave .1 ; the child 
said no. its mother gave it. I heard tlii.^ child examined liy tins magistrates. 

15. It was proved by sundry testimonies again-t .-nine of the ;; used, that, 
upon tlieir ni-sii. ions iin|irecations, wishes, ;•'■ threateiiings, many ol)ser\able 
deaths and diseases, with niaiiv other o(bl inconveiiii'iices, e happened to 
catrle and other estate of such as were so threatened by them, and some 
to the persons of men and women. 

Ul ll.TV OF WirCIIClCAl'T. 

1. It pleased God, for the clearer discovery of those nn-sterics of the 
kingdom of darkness, so to dispose, that several persons, men, women, and 
children, did confess their hellish deeds, as foUoweth: — 

'2. They confessed against themselves that they were witches, told how 
long they had been so, and how it came about that the Devil ap]iearcd to 
them; viz., sometimes upon discontent at their mean condition in the W(]ild, 
sometimes about fine clothes, sometimes for the gratilying other carnal and 
sensual lusts. Satan then, upon his appearing to them, made them fair 
(though false) promises, that, if they would yield to him, and sign his book, 
their desires should be answered to the, whereupon they signed it; 
and thus the accursed confederacy was coutirmed betwixt them and the 
Prince of Darkness. 

3. Some did afHrm that there wi'ro some linndreds of the society of 
witches, considerable companies of whom were atViniied to muster in arms by 
beat of drum. In time of examinations and trials, they declared that such a 
man was wont to call them together from ail (piartcrs to witch-meetings with 
the sound of a diabolical trumpet. 

4. Being brought to see the prisoners at the bar upon their trials, they 
did afKrni in open court (I was then present), that they had oftentimes seen 



Uu'iii at wik'l)-nic('tinf,'s, where was fenstiiifr, danciii^;', jind Jullily, as «1m) nt 

Duvil-Micrainciits; and |iarti('idarly (liat they saw siicli a man aiiion^^st 

till! rest of the cursed crow, and Hllirni('<l that hu did aihninistcr tlic sacra- 
ment of Satan to thcni, cncnnra^jin;^ thcni to go on in their way, and they 

should certainly prevail. They said also that such a woman was a 

deacon, and served in distriliutiuf;- the diaholical elements: they adirmed that 
there were j^reat nund)ers of the wilcln's. 

5. The\' allirmed that many of those wretched souls had hecn haptized at 
Nvwhury Falls, and at several other rivers and ponds; and, as to the manner 
of adioinistration, the j,'rcat Ollicer of Hell took them u|) hy tlii' Itod}-, and, 
putting their heads into the water, said over them, "Thou art mine, 1 have 
full ])ower over thee : and thereupon they enj^a;:;ed and covenanted to renounce 
God, Christ, their sacred iiaptism, and the whole way of Gospel snlvatii.n, 
and to use their utmost endeavors to oppose the kingdom of Christ, and to 
set up and advance the kingdom of Satan. 

C. Some, after tliey had eonfosed, were very penitent, and did wring their 
hands, and manifest a distressing sense of what they had done, and were by 
the mercies of God recovered out of those smires of the kingdom of dark- 

7. Several have confessed against their own mothers, that they were in- 
struments to bring them into the Devil's covenant, to the undoing of them, 
body and soul; and some girls of eight or nine years of age did declare, that, 
after they were so betrayed by their mothers to the power of Satan, they saw 
the Devil go in their own shapes to atHict others. 

8. Some of those that confessed were immediately afflicted at n dreadful 
rate, after the same manner with the other sufferers. 

9. Some of them confessed, that they did afflict the sufferers according to 
the time and manner they were accused thereof ; and, being askeil what they 
did to atllit't them, some said that they pricked pins into poppets made with 
rags, wax, and other materials : one that confessed after the signing the death- 
warrant said she nsed to atflict them by clutching and pinching her hands 
together, and wishing in what part and after what nuiuuer she would have 
tliem afflicted, and it was done. 

10. They confessed the design was laid by this witchcraft to root out the 
interest of Christ in New Kngland, and that they began at the Village in 
order to settling the kingdom of darkness and the powers thereof; declaring 

that such a man was to be head conjurer, and for his activity in that 

affair was to be crowned king of hell, and that such a woman was to be 

queen of hell. 

Thus I have given my reader a brief and true account of those fearful 
and amazing operations and intrigues of the I'rincc of Darkness: and I must 
call them so; for, let some persons be as incredulous as they j)lease about t